The Beaufort Scale classifies the severity of storms. We’re familiar with it in Britain from the Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4, which wakes us up and sends us to sleep with its mystical incantations of South Utsire, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, three becoming four or five occasionally six, one thousand and seven, rising slowly, good. Whatever that means.
Well, it’s about time the scale was adapted to describe the severity of cycle-driver confrontations. How serious was the incident this morning when you got cut up by a taxi and shouted at him? Well, with the scale below, now you know.
|Beaufort||Cycle-car confrontation||Police action|
|0||Calm||No noticeable reaction||Nothing|
|1||Light air||Slightly extended eye contact||Nothing|
|2||Light breeze||Raised eyebrows||Nothing|
|3||Gentle breeze||Gentle tutting||Nothing|
|4||Moderate breeze||Sotto voce comment||Nothing|
|5||Fresh breeze||Comment audible to other cyclists||Nothing|
|6||Strong breeze||Comment audible to driver||Nothing|
|7||Moderate gale||Slight slowing-down in order to comment to driver. Some finger pointing to location of incident.||Nothing|
|8||Gale||Cycling alongside car at same speed to address driver. Shouted comments with mild profanity. Finger pointed at driver’s head.||Nothing|
|9||Strong gale||Dismounting of cycle to shout loudly with regular profanities. Threats of legal action. Possible waving of fist. Exaggerated writing-down of number plate, cab licence number, bus route, etc.||Nothing|
|10||Storm||Cycle leant against front of vehicle to impede its progress. Other cyclists join in and surround vehicle. General din of shouting voices and profuse swearing. Jostling of vehicle. Tutting of passers-by. Attempts to hand driver leaflet about global warming.||Caution cyclists|
|11||Violent storm||Vehicle immobilised and surrounded by large mob of angry cyclists. Mild but expensive damage sustained to car paintwork. Slight rocking of vehicle. Passers-by stop to take photos on mobile phone. Attempts to hand driver leaflet about joining London Cycle Campaign.||Arrest cyclists|
|12||Hurricane||Vehicle overturned, doused with petrol and torched. Driver lectured by cycling blogger at length on content of Highway Code Section 178 and the Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 36. Passers-by post pictures to Twitter. Mob of cyclists go on rampage through area, taking photographs of sub-standard cycle parking and handing out leaflets on forthcoming Farmer’s Market and Cycle Friday scheme.||Implement national crackdown on “all this dangerous pavement cycling”|