I had another excuse today: lifts, and lots of them. With all this driving around town I had a first hand chance to see how invisible cyclists are. It was pouring with rain last night and I was following a cyclist down Lyndhurst Road. I was just behind him as he entered the roundabout by Waitrose. He was going straight on to North Street.
Whack! A car pulled out from High Street and hit him broad side taking him out completely. With the rider directly in front of her it seemed amazing that she did not see him. Drivers don’t look for bikes but for the potential cars coming at speed from the right – so as a driver you don’t look straight ahead. Fortunately, she was not going too quick and the rider was able to pick himself up. I stopped to make sure that he was OK and to offer the protection of the van for them to exchange their details. Once sorted the driver hastened home, I was shocked that she did not seem flustered, hopefully the implications of what happened will hit her once safe in her house.
I took the cyclist to the Police Station to the report the accident and injuries and then ferried him home. His single speed track machine was unrideable. He wasn’t aware of how cool his retro bike was.
What lessons can be learned? Obviously, we as drivers need to take it easy and not be in such haste. As a cyclists we have rights but there is no point trying to exercise them if we don’t make it easy for drivers to see us. Matey had lights but they weren’t very bright and as such did not do much good looking from the side. He was also dressed completely in black.
Let’s hope that the driver pays to get his bike sorted. The £150 or so price will be a lot less than the loss of her no claims bonus or the hundreds of thousands of personal injury claim if he had been maimed. Please note riders that if you are knocked off unless you are insured you are on your own, it is not the same as your car insurance company dealing with another car insurance company. As for the Police, I don’t blame them, but unless you are injured or better still dead, you don’t count. You are not a recordable statistic and as such not worth bothering with. You HAVE to report injury no matter how small.
Get insured by joining the CTC or BC (Cyclist Touring Club or British Cycling). I am a member of both. Get descent lights, good batteries and wear something reflective of bright or both. A helmets not a bad idea too!
There is a lot to be said for the Dutch system where any accident with a bike the driver is assumed to be at fault. Now, that would really change the British laissez faire driving culture!