With six months cycling under our carbon belts, and approximately 7000km travelled on European roads, we are happy to report that we have generally not had a problem with motorists. In fact, just a day in Melbourne on a bike and I've already had more issues with impatient, ignorant, idiotic drivers than six months over here.
So the drivers are all pretty accepting of cyclists in Europe, yes, but there is one category of vehicle that does stand out as more death-inducing than the others: BUSES.
It doesn't matter what country you're in or what road you're on, buses pass us a minimum of 2x closer than any other vehicle. They ALWAYS fail to wipe off any speed, with their gigantic, rectangular, incredibly non-aerodynamic shape doing all sorts of strange things with the wind as they swipe past our arms.
If trucks, cars, motorbikes and motorhomes can wait until after a corner to pass, why can't a bus?
If trucks, cars, motorbikes and motorhomes can overtake in the opposite lane when given the opportunity, why can't a bus?
If trucks, cars, motorbikes and motorhomes can wipe off a bit of speed to pass, why can't a bus?
Let me reason why.
Firstly, there is not a bus driver in the world who has ridden a bicycle on the road. This makes them completely unaware of what it is like to be the cyclist when a 14 tonne coach passes by. The FACT is that no bus driver in the world would drive like they do, if they had actually ridden a bicycle on the road.
Secondly, buses carry people, and people care about time. People always remember when a bus is late, but never when a bus is early. This is a little mind game which plays in a bus drivers head as he/she strives for timeliness. Every time a bus driver has to wait for a cyclist, this takes time, and due to the FACT the bus driver's in their little game world, everything is exaggerated.
As a result, when a bus driver has to wait just THREE SECONDS in order to slow down, give the cyclists some space and pass on the opposite side of the road, it is actually over THREE MINUTES of time loss in the bus drivers head.
Bus drivers are idiots. Especially tourist bus drivers.
My crystal clear reasoning demonstrates that the mind games DO get to them and that they DO loose track of reality. If this wasn't the case they would surely afford us more safety.