Last week Thursday the city police conducted a control at the tram station Guggach. One third of the cyclists (and two car drivers) had disregarded the red light. The cyclists were fined with 60 francs, the car drivers with 250 francs. Honestly, I would have fined the cyclists also with 250 francs or maybe even with 1000 francs. Possibly this could save lives or health. The number of injured or killed cyclists is increasing in the city of Zurich. I have the impression that the cyclists consider themselves above the law. It is true that usually they endanger themselves but the costs resulting from their lawless behaviour are borne by the community.
No, I have nothing against cyclists. I myself cycle about every third day. I try to teach my little one (soon 9 years old) the correct behaviour in traffic. This is not easy because we are confronted with bad examples every day. They are the rule, not the exception. Cyclists crossing streets at red light, cyclists chasing us from the sidewalk ringing their bell, cyclists driving with headphones and without hands, cyclists using pedestrian crossings as cycling path at breakneck speed.
Last Thursday I was driving in my car. Driving through the city during rush hour is a nightmare. If possible I avoid it. But that day it was not possible otherwise. I had been at a client and was finally on my way home. I was tired. At 30 degrees it was hot like in an oven. I was careful and relatively slow because there were so many cyclists, motorcycles and pedestrians on the road whose careless behaviour one had to consider. The other drivers made me feel my slowness because they were obviously irritated by my wariness. They almost drove against my bumper, were hooting. I took it easy, “let go, guys” I thought.
After the Saalsporthalle I approached a pedestrian crossing, which in the middle had a traffic refuge. I drove at about 40 km/h. Then I saw an adult man in full cycling outfit crossing the street on the pedestrian crossing at full speed. I thought that he would stop at the traffic refuge. But he did not slow down. I realised all this in a split second and started to break. I came to stand in the middle of the pedestrian crossing and we were only separated by centimetres. I was perplexed and very angry. Incredible, how careless this guy was behaving!!! When he was on the other side of the street, I shortly hooted. I wanted to say “not like this”.
He startled and fell on the ground. With all his arrogance and his aggressive manner of cycling this surprised me. I had not intended this. Rather fast he was back on his feet and his eyes were spraying poison. He was swearing so loud that I could even hear it inside the car. He started to move and ran to my door. With the left hand he reached for the door handle and the right had he pulled back with clenched fist. Paralyzed I sat behind the steering wheel and watched what was happening. “Does he want to beat me?” I was wondering but I could not move. Also I did not think of pushing the accelerator and drive away. I stared at him and waited what would happen.
He tried to open my door but it was not possible. And for the first time I was glad about this function of my car. When I get in, the car locks all doors. Without me doing anything, my car becomes a fortress without my intervention. Outside he was romping and berating me badly. I was thinking whether he would leave damages on the car. It would have been possible. But better damaged paint than damaged bones.
Sometime he was standing again next to my car. I accelerated and slowly drove away.