I am intrigued by what appears to be the latest government initiative to tackle the bad drivers who try to knock me off my bike every day. The authorities now appear to be making the drivers fly a flag on their car. The flag is usually just a plain white one with a red cross although some of them have the word ‘England’ on them, leading me to think this must be a pilot scheme in which Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not taking part. Exceptionally bad drivers appear to be compelled to fly more than one flag. Some of the flags also have little shields on them — I wonder whether these reflect the number of penalty points which the user has on their licence? It’s a bold initiative which perhaps the government needs to publicise more widely.
Perhaps too, it’s part of an international scheme to combat bad driving. Besides the English flags I have also spotted a few from Ireland, Germany, Sweden and, I think, Paraguay.
My only problem with the scheme is that some of the flags are rather large and when drivers have passed too closely while I’ve been riding the bike the flapping flag has almost knocked me off. I would thus urge the government to limit the size of the flag which the drivers are obliged to fly.
Meanwhile, given that I could occasionally be accused of being an inconsiderate cyclist1, perhaps I should fly a small flag on my bike. I’m thinking that possibly my flag should be similar to those flown by the bad drivers but with the word ‘Moron’ in place of ‘England’.
1 Inconsiderate, that is, in that I refuse to cycle in the gutter and so have been known to slow the cars down for a couple of seconds before allowing them to pass so that I can pass them again further up the road solely in order to slow them down again. Jolly fun!
Posted 31 May 2006, 19:11 BST