Tag Archives: helmet

Death By Cycling??

A very sombre title I know, but I have recently heard of way too many cyclists being killed by vehicles, and accidents which just sound horrific! The other day I was cycling out through Kenton and loads of ambulances zoomed past. Then I was gutted when I saw that they were all heading for a roundabout; lots of traffic, cyclist on the floor, metres away from his bike. He was in a bad condition to say the least. It was grim, and I’m pretty sure it was a collision with a white van, which barely had a dent in it. And recently there has been a load of controversy in London about cyclists after the chairman of Addison Lee, the taxi company, mouthed off about cyclists and seemed to be saying that he doesn’t want them on roads at all! (If you want to read up on the story, here’s a brief summary.)

What upsets me the most about the way I’m treated on the road is how little drivers think ahead. On Monday I went out for a ride and FOUR times and car overtook me at great speed only to slam the brakes on (causing me to slam my brakes on even harder) so that they could take an impending left turn. On a couple of occasions it was a very near miss (Mum if you’re reading this, don’t worry, I’m fine, and yes I was wearing my high vis). The only thing those motorists would have had to do to make the situation safe is think to themselves ‘right, I’m turning left in 100 metres, that means that the best thing to do is slow down for a very short amount of time behind this cyclist so that I don’t have to cut them off and almost cause a crash’. What annoys me is how little people would be held up, its literally a matter of seconds, not minutes! And yet drivers insist on taking the gut reaction of overtaking even when its an idiotic choice.

Another thing that really gets me going is when drivers don’t even bother to cross the white line to overtake you because there is oncoming traffic, EVEN when the oncoming traffic is only like 2 cars! All they would have to do is wait behind you for those two cars and then they could pull out safely and have loads of time to get round you. People don’t slow down either, so if its raining and I swerve to miss a drain and a car is zooming past me (within the white lines at 40mph) then I have little or no time or space to react. Its ridiculous! A car would easily kill me if it hit me at that speed, and yet drivers just don’t make the effort to take an extra few seconds and make it safe. Equally annoying is when people try and overtake you when there is an island crossing coming up and they just don’t have space so you get squeezed out! Disaster from the cyclists point of view but I’m not sure drivers even care! I really hope and pray that I never get hit by one of those careless drivers. But as I cycle more and more, I am increasingly realising how dangerous the roads are for cyclists. And it worries me! How long will it be before a near miss becomes something worse? It wouldn’t take very much at all for a car to cut it too fine and I would be a gonner! I’m not saying I expect this to happen, I just mean it would be an awful shame, especially considering how easy it is for motorists to take care and slow down for cyclists. We are talking about a difference between waiting for SECONDS behind a cyclist, and risking their LIFE.

Its a no brainer if you ask me.

As a driver myself, I know how easy it is to not think about other road users and just concentrate on getting where you want to go. But if you are reading this as any kind of motorist, please can I urge you to take those few extra seconds to slow down behind a cyclist and make sure its safe FOR THEM before you overtake. It will make such a difference to the safety of cycling on the roads!

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The Joys of Cycling

Everyone should be a cyclist! That might seem like a rash statement but I really believe that anyone with two legs and a beating heart can enjoy it to some capacity, whether thats cycling around the park, or to and from work, or on leisurely weekend rides in the countryside. Every single person who I know who has started cycling at uni would now not give up their bike for anything! Its convenient to get around town quickly on, it saves so much money on petrol or metro tickets, and it is so much flipping fun!

I thought it might be helpful to give some top tips to get more people on a bike, saving money and time, as well as enjoying themselves. So here we go, 5 Top Tips to get you raving about biking around.

1) Buy a bike that suits you or fish out that old one in the garage that you haven’t used for years. In one sense a bike is a bike, if the pedals turn, the brakes work and the tyres are full then you are onto a winner! (I’ve been riding mine around for the last two months with only one gear because I can’t afford to get the cable fixed and I’m still loving it). If you have got the spare cash then spend some time thinking about what bike would suit you best – are you going to be going off road every now and again or will you only use it for commuting? Get some advice from your local bike shop who will be able to advise you on which bike will suit your needs

2) Get cycling! Take the plunge and get out on the roads. My housemate only bought a bike this September and at first was just getting used to riding it and doing short trips. Now she loves it and goes everywhere on her bike. She even went for a purposeful bike ride the other week because it was sunny and she was raving about it! Go for it!

3) Find some friends who already cycle and organise fun trips with them. One of the joys of cycling is that its actually a really sociable thing to do. If you’ve got the afternoon off or some time at the weekend then grab some food and head out to the hills for some cycling and a picnic. It can be a very sophisticated affair and there is no need for lycra to appear at all!

4) On the other hand if you are going to be cycling regularly, for example 10 or more miles into work/uni and back, then padded lycra shorts will honestly change your life! They are seriously worth it (the cheapest ones on the market are only about £15) and your butt will thank you every time you wear them! Don’t be afraid of lycra!

5) Wear a helmet. Only idiots risk brain damage by not wearing one! Don’t be a fool, put it on!

There are so many other joys to cycling that I could carry on forever, but those would be my best tips for someone who hasn’t thought about cycling before. My top tip is just to go for it and take the plunge, you really won’t regret it.

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