Austen is all the rage on the road.
On Saturday 13th March I was heading down the Ballycrochan Road at 30 MPH travelling towards Deanfield. I always, always travel with-in the speed limit as I don’t fancy a headline in the local press that says “Councillor breaks speed limit on road that he campaigned to slow”
I looked in my mirror and saw a red car come bombing up behind me. He came right up to my bumper, shaking his head and waving his hands and flashing his lights. I got the impression that he wanted me to go faster. (Not sue about that although - I could be clairvoyant.) I indicated to him that it was a 30 mile an hour zone and that I was not going to go faster. This seemed to infuriate him further and he proceeded to overtake me on the hatching whilst making hand jesters at the same time…. And no he wasn’t a bookies clerk.
I was beginning to feel relieved that he was going when he pulled in front of me and slammed on his brakes. I skidded and a pile of papers flew across the passenger seat into the passenger well. He moved off and then skidded his car to a halt again and jumped out of the car and toss his glasses onto the front seat and came at my car.
Being a man… I bravely rolled down my window, (I suppose a braver man would have got out and Kung Foo chopped him.) and told him that this was a 30 MPH zone. This seemed to upset him slightly and he made it loudly clear that it wasn’t a 30 mph road and proceeded to use noise levels and language that I could not and will not imitate.
When he took a breath I got in the words “I have been campaigning, with the police for years about this road. So it’s a 30 MPH road.” This set him off all the more and he shouted that I wasn’t a police man and that he was SF and military!
When he eventually drove off I made a mental note of his registration number. When I got to a telephone I rang the police. They came out a little later and heard my story. I was not pressing the police to pursue a criminal investigation as I felt that in the scheme of things they have more pressing matters to handle. But I felt that, at the very least, this man should be spoken to about his driving.
I was fairly shaken by the whole thing, although I am making light of it here, but shaken I was. So much so that the police rang later to tell me that the number that I had given them was wrong and that they were not able to pursue the matter without further information.
But I must say that this is not an uncommon experience. I get this kind of driver coming up behind my car at least twice or three times a week. In one incident I was overtaken by an angry silver haired lady on the Donaghadee Road. What made this memorable was the fact that she overtook me and the Thornleigh pedestrian refuge at the same time.
I wish I could offer a cure for this kind of “I Own The Road!” rage but I can’t. All that I can hope for is that the DOE Roads start designing roads that are not able to be used a race tracks. It certainly isn’t a police problem as this problem is happening all over Northern Ireland and I ‘Post Patten’ we are lucky to have enough police to man the stations never mind being on every street corner at all times of the day and night.