YOU could interview a person for three hours, rifle through their tax returns, upend their knicker drawer and you still wouldn’t know them as well as if you conducted one simple test.
The best, most finite way, to judge someone’s true character, is to watch the way they drive past a cyclist on a quiet country road.
There are those who will slow down a bit and there are those will slow down, indicate safely and proffer a cheery wave to the said cyclist.
There are those who will rev their engines loudly at the indignation of being disrupted in their speeding, and there are those who will pretend the cyclist does not exist at all.
The cheery wavers, you can tell instantly what they’re like in daily life – they’re the ones who bake cakes to raise money for the local dog shelter, the ones who actually like their spouses, the ones who say, “Oh look, there’s a robin in the hedgerow.”
By the same token, the ones that are happy to make cyclists into organ donors go home at night and kick the cat.
The same personality test applies to how you pass horses on the road.
I walked Cady over to a different yard on Sunday via the leafy country lanes of County Durham.
And witnessed all of the above. We were top to toe in high viz gear and 99 per cent of cars were great but a couple sped past really close, proving, as my friend says, that adrenalin is brown.
It’s the ultimate test of humanity – are you going to look after this vulnerable human on a flimsy bike/lunatic animal while you are protected by a reinforced metal shell?
Or are you going to let them take their chances so you’re not late for the McDonald’s drive-thru?
I see more and more cyclists these days, and I’m happy the tide is turning.
At 5am the lycra rustles and the apostles of Bradley Wiggins fill their water bottles.
Biking is becoming a much more popular form of transport. Hardly surprising since it’s free to run a bike and gives you magnificent legs.
The sooner all motorists everywhere accept cyclists on the road and learn to overtake safely, the better.
No one needs to be anywhere in such a hurry that it’s worth splatting another human over the tarmac.
If you speed past cyclists when you’re driving then shame on you, I’m squinting at you and jabbing my finger at your silliness.
Slap yourself on the wrist and vow to make amends right now.
One day, when cars cost money just to look at, you’ll be wobbling along the road and hoping the goodwill of others keeps you safe.
If you are well-mannered, and look after fellow road users, then jolly well done, you offer hope for the human race.