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!