Are we all paying due care and attention?

So gents, in case this video has yet to appear on your radar, it is the moment when one lucky gent (if you care to call this luck) was faced with his mortality and managed to survive. It shows how one cyclist in Romford came very close to meeting his maker and is all very nicely surmised in one simple sentence; “Oh, F**k off”.

The clip description gives a full account of the event and the events that followed:

“I was travelling around 22mph through Romford. Drizzly conditions so I was being cautious around bends and roundabouts. I didn’t expect this! I just about got my hands to the brakes (it can just be seen on the frame before impact) but I had no chance of stopping.

… At the time the driver was apologetic and was informed by the police that I was recording my ride and seemed to admit fault. But when it came to my insurance claim against her she disputed it. Safe to say the video has saved me a lot of hassle and 3 weeks later the cheque has already arrived from the insurance company.”

So why have we chosen to share this clip with you. Well for one, it is remarkable how one man has managed to dance with death and leave relatively unscathed – the gentleman only suffered some bruising. The second reason is because we enjoy a ride around our fair town of Northampton and feel that this is a good opportunity to raise some awareness of the need to be aware of those gents out there on their bikes, especially in these warm summer months. For cyclists, all we can say is that a headcam is a worthwhile and wise investment that may save you long, tiresome and expensive court battles and save the police time finding parties at fault.

So here are our tips to both drivers and cyclists out there about how to make the roads a safer, more gentlemanly place.

cyclist dangers

To the drivers…

1. Expect cyclists

Cyclists are required to ride on the road and therefore should always be considered when driving. Treat them as you would any other slow moving vehicle and be aware of their presence.

2. Patience is a virtue

The age old adage is directly relevant to cyclists and can be the difference between life and death. Now we know gents, that burning desire to race as quickly away from the office as humanly possible and the frustration that can arise by anything slowing us down but let this not lead to an impulsive, irrational and overly stupid decision. By impatiently trying to squeeze past a cyclist, it could result in hitting them or unbalancing them. By beeping a horn, you can make them lose their bearings and potentially put them and you in danger. Avoid tailgating them, avoid beeping when close, wait for the right time to pass and be aware that they may need more time to deal with hazards.

3. Watch your left and right

When preparing to turn left or right, make sure to look out for cyclists. A cyclist could potentially be to the left of you with the intention of going straight whilst you are planning to turn. It is safer to slow and let the cyclist go before attempting to turn.  Do not attempt to speed ahead and turn ahead of the bicyclist, hoping to make turn before they reach your car. There is a good chance that he or she may be going faster than you think and as you slow down to turn, the cyclist may end up crashing into your passenger side, as shown above.

4. Watch your back

Backing out of driveways and garages can make it difficult to see cyclists approaching and passing, especially on busy roads and on roads where your vision is restricted. Take it slow. Importantly, make sure your drive is clear. Small children on bikes can be deceptively difficult to see.

5. Mind the door

After parking, especially parallel parking, have a check to make sure the way is clear before opening the car door. Be sure no cyclists are moving fast down the lane or riding along your car. Use your rear view mirrors and turning to check blind spots. A cyclist is not able to anticipate when a car door is going to open, but the driver is able to anticipate a cyclist.

To the riders…

1.  Obey the rules of the road

By following the rules of the road, drivers are able to plan for you. By jumping red lights, cycling on pavements and not signalling, you put yourself and others in danger, not giving them time to react to your movements.

2. Be sure to be seen

Make it as easy as possible for other road users to know that you are there as well. Ride in a position that is clearly visible, at night be sure to use lights and consider wearing bright and reflective clothing. This becomes particularly important in bad weather and at night when visibility is particularly reduced.

3. Be aware of other vehicles

Seems like a pretty obvious statement, and yet it mistake that many cyclists commit. Understand that whilst many drivers should check to see for you on their left, there is always the chance they will not. And just because a vehicle is not indicating that it is going left does not mean that it is not going to. Avoid undertaking if a car is slowing down approaching a turn and never cycle along the inside of lorries, buses and other large vehicles which may not have visibility of you, especially at junctions.

Importantly, stay safe on the roads. A little gentlemanly care and attention can go a very long way.