Yesterday I was knocked off my bike, as a driver turned into a junction without noticing me beside her. Fortunately, no injuries were incurred other than a few cuts and bruises. However, this certainly put it into perspective for me on how much I take my life for granted when cycling on the road.
Any other time I’ve gone out on my bike – never once been hit – have I ever forgotten my helmet. However, recent times lead to distractions and forgetting it once I stepped out the front door and being too lazy to go back upstairs to get it. The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents state that 80% of UK cyclists that are injured, seriously injured or have died on UK roads are male. Two thirds of them in urban areas are at, or near, a junction. They also state that 57% of those incidents were attribution to drivers of vehicles “failing to look properly” and the other 43% being weighted to the cyclists “failing to look properly”.
From what I can remember, I didn’t thoroughly check this car’s indicators whilst undertaking in the cycle lane. It was only until just before the driver turned did I see the flashing amber side-indicators. I feel the 57% of attribution towards driver and the other 43% being attributed towards the cyclist’s responsibility is a very realistic statistic in my experience yesterday. If you had told me that statistic two days ago I would have been very surprised.
I have always felt that being the cyclist on the road, you have greater responsibility to look more thoroughly and take greater care, than as a driver. Because after all, your size and protection is minimal compared to the other vehicles on the road, thus making you susceptible to being unnoticed and greater injuries. Your physical size on a bicycle, and the potential incompetence, ill-experienced or non-familiar drivers (driving in urban areas; where the population of cyclists is greater than what they’re comfortable with or aware of) are all major risks of life whilst cycling. Incompetent, ill-experienced and non-familiar cyclists is also an ever greater risk, too.
So throughout my two years of cycling, I’ve loved it. I loved my bike since the day I bought it and I thoroughly enjoy cycling when the weather is right. I wouldn’t want to destroy my ability for that passion due my laziness to walk back for my helmet. So yeah, lesson learnt.