Darwin Awards Season

When I was growing up in the Borders, I had an idea, even back then as a teenager with no concept of mortality, that the Borders had a higher than average distribution of car-related insanity. Two of my school peers died in completely pointless high speed crashes, and it felt like it was built into the fabric of the community that car driving was something done with reckless abandon and scant regard for the consequences.

Last night I went for an hour’s ride round the Melrose / Selkirk area while my daughter was at running club. I took a route I’ve never tried before – a hilly loop taking in the foothills of the Eildons, across country to Lindean and then back along to Gala and Tweedbank. It was harder work than I was expecting, I hadn’t checked the elevation profile before I set off 🙂

Tweedbank Loop

In the space of half an hour I was subjected to 4 ridiculous displays of driving madness. Here’s one of them. An uphill, right hand bend with a blind summit just round the corner. For international readers, remember we ride on the left hand side of the road in the UK. I was overtaken at exactly the point shown on the Google Street View picture below by a woman at around 60 mph. She couldn’t wait a few seconds for me to get round the bend, and so she went round it herself on the wrong side of the road, straight into a blind summit, with no visibility of oncoming traffic whatsoever.

A fantastic place to be overtaking.

A quarter of a mile up the road, she pulled into a layby, got her dog out the back and went for a walk in the woods. Damn cyclist getting in her way – I must have held her back by at least 5 seconds! Definitely worth risking the lives of herself, me, and any unsuspecting drivers coming the other way in a test of blind luck. I didn’t have time to tell her what I thought before she had disappeared into the woods.

If Darwin was correct about the theory of evolution, surely people like this would become rarer, but it seems to me there’s more of them every day.

3 thoughts on “Darwin Awards Season

  1. Thanks so much for your blogposts , I learn lots and enjoy them. Wow you are well behaved – I would no doubt have got myself into a pickle by following her into the woods shouting and waving my arms about! Various terrible oveetakes on A69 over the bank holiday but happily I was in my trusty Skoda not on my Ice Trike.
    ‘Be careful out there’.


    • Thanks Nicola. I always feel safer on the trike in bad traffic – no possibility of hitting bad road surface and tipping into the path of a close pass. I was on the M5 last night though, which requires a bit more care when there’s traffic around.


  2. I feel with you. Have had similar situations a few times (too many). Some drivers seem to survive only by pure luck and because of others who manage to compensate for their errors. Sadly they don’t only risk their own lives.
    It’s so crazy because in 99% of the cases, they would have lost only a few seconds while waiting for a safe opportunity to overtake. Makes you wonder, how they even got their drivers license.


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