New Year Safety Plea

This morning, on the way to work, I witnessed a cyclist getting hit by a car. I have my doubts as to whether the cyclist will survive. There are more and more cyclists on our roads, and this trend will continue in the future because of rising petrol prices, and environmental concern. This requires both cyclists and drivers to increase their awareness of what is going on around them.

If you are driving a car, and you are turning from one street into another, please look carefully, cyclists are easy to miss, particularly if you are turning through a gap in one or more lanes of traffic. Cyclists can often be found proceeding past stopped traffic along the left-hand side of the road, or between two lanes, and they haven’t got a chance if you suddenly turn accross their path. Secondly, cyclists are actually moving a lot faster than you think, it is often not possible to “get in ahead of them”, if it was a car you were turning across and you’d wait, then wait for the cyclist before turing as well. I know most drivers of vehicles are not out there to make life difficult for cyclists, or to hurt them, but the chances of you killing a cyclist in an arguably minor incident are quite high, and fatalities are terrible for all involved.

If you are riding a bicycle, make sure you are wearing a helmet, without one you’ll probably die from something as minor as going over the handlebars, something that happens to most city cylcists multiple times a year. If you’re moving past stopped traffic, keep an eye out for cars that are turning accross that traffic, through gaps in the traffic at side streets and the like – they’ll have a hard time seeing you, and if you can’t see the whites of their eyes, I suggest waiting until they have moved on before moving. Another thing to look for is indicators – actively check the indicators of every vehicle you come across. Also, be sure to indicate with your hands, it is pretty un-fair on drivers of cars if you just appear in front of them without warning.

I for one am glad that I don’t commute on my bicycle any more, because it really is very dangerous, and the more you ride, the more likely you are to get hurt, especially during peak traffic times. Please drive with your eyes wide open, and your brain totally focussed on the other road users around you, and cyclists please ride as though you can not be seen, and take every precaution to avoid being hit.