My Material Void

Another Cyclist Dies In London….

Posted on: March 10, 2010

This morning I woke up, got dressed to get on my bike and walked out the door, I could hear sirens outside, but I thought nothing of it, unlocking my bike I realised I was not wearing my glasses, so went back into the house…

…Five minutes later I was out the house, with glasses, cycling up my road. When I got to the top I realised that there was an awful lot of traffic, but thought nothing of it. At the round about I could see police cars and an ambulance, by this point I was coming down the left hand side of the traffic and got the full view of what was going on.

There was what appeared to be a cyclist lying in the road being resuscitated with a lorry in the road. This is not the first time I have experienced cycle deaths in London, there are always bikes and flowers at the road sides, and I once saw a tent put up to shield a cyclists body after a lorry incident.

I carried on with my trip to work shaken up and finding myself extremely angry every time I saw a cyclist jumping a red light or pushing up the inside edge of an HGV. I had to hold myself back from shouting at them, I did not want to see another incident.

Normally I wouldn’t write about something as morbid as this, but I was googling the incident to see what information I could find out when I came across a blog that made me really angry.

The writer proudly posts that they had tweeted at the Mayor of London “WE WANT A BAN ON RUSH HOUR TIPPERS AND CONCRETE MIXERS”.

This made me incredibly angry – in my five years of cycling it is becoming more and more glaringly obvious that the worst culprits on London’s roads are actually cyclists themselves – they love to blame anyone but themselves.

The weather is getting better and more and more idiots are getting out onto the roads who have no idea what it is like to be behind the wheel of a car, let alone that the road rules actually apply to them as well.

So far this week I have been nearly taken out twice by inexperienced cyclists, the first incident was a girl who overtook me, and without looking pulled back in, almost taking me out, when I shouted, she told me that I shouldn’t be on the inside – she was over taking me(!)

Blogs like this are only making London’s already over crowded roads more dangerous by letting cyclist think they own the road.

It actually makes my blood boil that the writer even suggest that banning HGVs would do any good. I don’t want to point the finger of blame, as we do not know what happened, but when I passed the incident, the cyclist was lying to the left of the road, curb side, which makes me think she was sat in the vehicles blind spot.

A quick look around the internet has proven to be most enlightening, in Nov 2009, The Guardian published an article discussing the sharp rise in cycle deaths on London roads. The article opens with cycle campaigners suggest that the rise could be to do with in part by a rush of inexperienced riders taking to the streets, or even an increase in risky cycling behaviour such as red-light jumping. It also ends with figures that show around 5% of cyclists killed in the capital had been jumping a traffic signal at the time.

Another articlestarts off promisingly, the partner of a cyclist killed on London’s roads was calling for tougher safety laws –great I agree, tougher safety laws!!

Until you read on, and find that she states The police might have decided the lorry driver was not at fault, but it is not good enough to say there was a blind spot and he didn’t see. Surely there needs to be a change in the law with HGV drivers made responsible for their mirrors and to ensure they are trained to be aware of cyclists.SORRY WHAT?!

As cyclists we are responsible for our own lives, and if this means not pulling up next to an HGV and sitting behind it at the lights, so be it – we need to anticipate what a driver is going to do, and NOT expect them to see us.

The wife even goes on to say Everyone who knew Ninian knew he was a responsible cyclist. He drove a van and a car and had good road sense. He didn’t take risks. The CCTV images show .As a bus came to a halt at a stop, Mr Donald rode up on to the pavement to avoid it and then rejoined the road moments before the lorry in the righthand lane started turning left.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but a cyclist should see the bus stop ahead, anticipate that the bus will probably stop, so start making plans to either go around the bus or stop behind the bus and wait for it to move off (like other road users, like cars need to), also last time I checked cycling on the pavement is a fineable offence…

Enough of the ranting now and finger pointing, it is sad when a life is lost, and nobody seems to think about the drivers who may or may not have been at fault, but need to live with the guilt for the rest of their lives, and may even loose their professions.

I later found out that the cyclist was a 27 year old woman, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

So let’s remember:

The poor woman that lost her life this morning, she woke and probably started her day like any other day only to find it was her last

The poor lorry driver who may or may not be at fault at this particular time, I don’t believe that any details have been released as yet

The woman’s family who are now, or may not yet know that they are mourning a daughter, sister or friend.

And finally to all you cyclists out there – stop taking risks and endangering not only your lives but the lives of other careful road users. The law must be changed – cyclists should be made to take some sort of proficiency test, and be pulled up more often – hell they could use C.S.O’s at traffic lights to pull people over, show them pictures of what happens to cyclists that don’t obey the rules of the road and fine them £30 on the spot – they could use the money to pay for the C.S.O’s!


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  • Fat Les: I'm gonna follow your blog. Do let me know immediately if your aspirations start to lean towards the Kelly Hoppen/Nicky Clarke (they're the same perso


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