Friday, 21 August 2009

Binmen - be nice to them

I've finally found a genuine downside of bike commuting in summer: bin lorries.

It's not so bad in winter but in high summer they STINK. In a car you're protected by your handy windshield and air conditioning, not so on a bike. I've been caught behind three this week and my God it's gross. Nearly knocked me off my bike with the smell, they take up the whole road if it's a side-road, they go at two miles an hour before pulling over without warning and then the binmen jump out swinging the door open in your face. Lovely.

To be honest I reckon it's a similar problem to that of HGVs in that they probably can't see you at all from the cab so I give them an incredibly wide berth when passing. Unfortunately, one of the incidences this week saw me caught behind one on a narrow hill so I was there for some time. My nose tried to close in the manner of a sealion but to no avail. One of the binmen had the decency to give me a knowing smile and we shared a giggle about it but it was still deeply unpleasant.

It doesn't put me off commuting though and has given me a renewed appreciation of binmen. A profession many would sneer at but without them we'd be screwed. They work antisocial hours, deal with what can be dangerous material (who knows which bag has a needle/glass/chemicals in) and they, along with street sweepers are part of the team that keep cycle lanes relatively clear.

Binmen of Britain, this cyclist salutes you!

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