My son, Max, has a placement at a park. It’s like work experience, self help skills, gardening working in the café and other such things you’d find in a park. I drop him off every day he’s “working” and this week with it being half term I have to take Oliver too. This morning was like most others with the exception of dropping Molly off at the vets for her operation. The turning into the park is one car width, you turn from a busy road into this narrow gap so everyone slows down because you can’t see what’s coming out and it’s a bit shady due to the trees so can be a bit dim. Added to that it’s a park, so there’s kids, dogs, college students glued to phones and not checking the road and other people like my son’s with no sense of danger. Everyone who drives into there is very careful.
Today I turned in slowly as usual and there was a cyclist on the main path heading to the entrance/exit. I stopped and he eventually saw me and ended up wobbling into the gate. I couldn’t have gone further down the path as he was there and I couldn’t move from the entry until he’d moved. I think he didn’t see me until he was right in front of me and he seemed to expect me to move- to where- I have no idea as I couldn’t reverse back onto the main road. I carried on up to the drop off point where Max meets his 1 to 1 and I’d just got him out and was about to get Oliver out when this bloke comes riding up screaming at me. I got a tirade of abuse about going to fast, it could have been a child, I’m irresponsible, I didn’t give a shit about my passengers. I politely informed him that I had seen him and stopped then carried on when he’d moved so he could exit the park. Apparently I’d driven so fast I had “knocked him into the gate” I said “I’m sorry if you think I was going to fast but I saw you and stopped and waited then carried on…” He carried on screaming at me saying “next time I’d get more than just a talking too” which was nice.
I drive in that park 4 days a week. I know there are dogs off leads chasing balls, I know there’s people power walking, I know there’s kids and joggers and just people chilling. I know not to go fast. I know to have eyes everywhere when driving somewhere like that. Even if there is a meltdown going on in the car, it has to be ignored until I’m safely pulled over- wherever we are. I went to the drop off and reported the incident to the boss, told him there would probably be a complaint made against me. These people have seen me drive into the place. They’ve seen me park a good few minutes walk away from drop off as it’s safer if it’s busy there. There are dog owners who are throwing balls for their dogs and I watch and have waited for the dog to take the ball back so it’s in no danger of running out in front of me. If people I power walking I don’t drive behind them slowly making them move, I sit and wait as it’s their park too and it’s a couple minutes wait. I was a pedestrian for a very long time, my husband was a cyclist and told me all kinds of stories about impatient car drivers so I try to be a good and courteous driver.
The man today upset me because what he was screaming at me was false, it genuinely was his problem. He was screaming and swearing in front of my children and he physically threatened me. If he did have a problem why not just do it politely “excuse me but I think you went a bit fast and it startled me”? Why does everything have to be all shouty all the time and accusatory? I suspect he may be there again tomorrow now to make another point. I’ll have Popples with me to tomorrow so it’ll be extra fun. Like I said I am a courteous driver, a few minutes added onto my journey is nothing and I’m not going to drive like a lunatic when I have my children with me anyhow. The incident rattled me and I wonder if he’d have been so threatening if I’d been a man.