I had a realisation, that in not writing anything you might get to wondering if I’m safe and sound after all this bike training I’ve undertaken. Not wanting to worry anyone, here I am – safe and sound.
Perhaps not. There was the incident with the speeding police car (that indicated left, changed its mind and went straight on) and the pedestrian who decided to stop in the middle of the road and respond to something on her phone. However, I seem to have mastered the emergency stop without locking up wheels and falling off. It’s a good thing to have confidence in.
I am now labelling other drivers into ‘driver fault’, ‘serious fault’ and ‘dangerous fault’. It makes me feel better about how I’m riding if they fit in the last two categories. Like, I’d have failed my test if I did something like that.
Unfortunately, I did do something like that when it came to the Final Hurdle of the Road Test.
It started in the test centre with a check of documentation. One of the earlier candidates had an error on his and couldn’t ride, so I was relieved when I was given the go ahead. I was psyched up and ready to go. I then answer three questions before setting off. Each is drawn from a particular knowledge area. They weren’t too hard: show me how to sound the horn, tell me how to check the brake fluid and what effect does having a pillion passenger have on the bike?
We set off and the first difficult part of the road to negotiate I’d encountered in practice. I smile to myself as a fellow trainee had failed due to his handling of these directions on his first attempt. So it didn’t happen in his second, we were walked through the tricky junction. Despite knowing what to do and where to go, I picked up an indicator fault, but I’d realised it on time, so it didn’t become serious. I feel like I’m riding well, although a little unsure of what speed limit applied on one road. That got me another rider fault as I went somewhere between the two I knew it could be. Junctions, roundabouts and pulling in and out from the side of the road, even on a hill all go well. I have an angled start to do from behind a parked car. Pedestrians crossed in front of it, and in trying to convey to the examiner I’ve seen them, I thereafter manage to stall and mess up the pulling out. But it doesn’t affect anyone but me, so it’s another rider fault. I’m allowed ten, as long as none are serious.
The test includes an independent ride. You are told to follow directions to a certain place. You’re not given instructions for a short period of time. It doesn’t matter too much if you end up going the wrong way, but for some reason I feel obliged to follow those signs. First two changes of direction go fine and then I get to a roundabout which, at first glance, to be straight forward – go straight on. Due to vehicles in front of me stopped at lights, I can’t see the markings on the road for appropriate lane. I do the safe thing and keep to the left lane. I’m stopped at lights, and I say OUTLOUD to myself to keep lane discipline no matter where this lane leads.
Traffic lights turn green, I see the direction sign I was looking for on the lane next to me. What do I go and do? I change lanes. It was the last major manoeuvre before returning to the test centre and I blew what had been a good ride up to then. I’ve been kicking myself ever since.
“Sorry, but on this occasion…..”
Trying again January 11th. Remind me to not go losing my brain that day!