Two wheels need room for manoeuvre | Ben Thomas

In the food chain of city streets, cyclists and pedestrians occupy the approximate positions of plankton and amoeba, with motor vehicles as the whales. It's not a good idea to expect a whale to make room for you, so you develop other strategies.

One trick that members of the "cyclo-plankton" species develop is the ability to make an evasive "jink" around obstacles, quickly altering their line of travel. A rider tootling along at 15mph may jink a metre or so sideways in a moment. It's something you wouldn't want (or need) to try in a car.

You also learn a few tricks as a city pedestrian. For example, when crossing the road, you look for a gap coming up in the flow of cars, timing your crossing so that you move into a car's space just as it passes. You simply calculate the car's line and move to the edge of it - and because cars don't tend to jink sideways, it works.

Now, I love pedestrians. In fact, most of the time I am one. And I try to treat them as I'd like drivers to treat me: courteous almost to a fault.

But when I'm on a bike, I'm not in a car. I move differently. I need considerably more width of road available to me than the 2cm my tyres take up. In short, I'm plankton, not a whale ... and I wish the amoeba would realise it.

I get my width of jinking space closed down by pedestrians almost every trip, often several times in one journey. Combined with the look of absolute confidence and assurance with which it is done, it can bring me to the verge of saying a naughty word under my breath.

I've tried ringing my bell. The response makes it clear that the pedestrian cannot see why I might possibly mind.

Is there any way of making the amoeba notice how the plankton move? Or do we just have to wait until we outnumber the whales?

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