When I was in my early twenties I was cycling to work and was forced off the road by a black cab driving incredibly close to me. I hit the kerb, skidded, came off my bike and slid into a bin which was just sitting there minding it’s own business. I hit my head on the way along, scraping it a bit. I scraped my leg a lot, and had to go to hospital for a few check ups. It was a nasty one.
I wasn’t wearing a helmet.
I told my aunt who tutted down the phone at me, screamed at me, and told me to get a fucking cycle helmet. Two days later a box arrived through the post for me. It was a cycle helmet. I called her to thank her and said I’d wear it.
“Good” she said. “Because if you don’t I’ll kill you.”
Listening to the radio this morning I heard that Olympic gold medal winning, sideburn-sporting, Tour de France winning, soon to be Sports Personality of The Year 2012, Bradley “Wiggo” “WigGold” Wiggins made a comment, following a death of a cyclist, about the fact that he believed cyclists wearing helmets should be made compulsory.
He’s getting a lot of stick for this, and this article details how and why he’s getting it in the neck. I guess some people think that he should be using a public forum to speak on other things about improving safety for cyclists on the roads. But it is his opinion and so he’s entitled to that isn’t he?
I happen to agree with him as I’ve had other accidents on the roads of old London town and if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet would I still be here? And, of course I am entitled to my own opinion.
Many believe it shouldn’t be compulsory as helmets don’t do a great deal when you’re hit by a truck or a steamroller. Using the money to promote cycle helmet could be spent on other measures, like campaigns to get motorists to drive more safely, increased cycle routes and the like. Also some quote the experience in Australia where introducing a law concerning cycle helmets saw a reduction in the amount of people cycling. Incidentally it also saw a 63% reduction in the amount of head injuries but one argument for promotes another against, and there’s a whole host of arguments for and against here.
I know I’m a sensible cyclist, and always have been. I treat the road like any other road user should. I don’t go the wrong way up one way streets like I see some cyclists do. I don’t ride on pavements, run through red lights or do anything reckless. I just don’t see the point. It’s dangerous to you and others as @motherventing experienced this week. I don’t talk on my phone or listen to an MP3 player while cycling. I quite like being aware of the very fast moving vehicles around me, so I can, you know, survive and see another sunrise.
I often go shopping in Cambridge. Cambridge has a lot of bike users and, quite frankly, it’s a farking nightmare at times. There’s a lot of pedestrian areas, you earthlings call them pavements, that some cyclist people use. Once I was walking along with my son and a cyclist using a pavement almost seriously injured my son. T didn’t know which way to go to escape the oncoming cyclist heading towards us at speed and almost ran out into the road to escape them. It took me rugby tackling him to the floor to stop him from being seriously injured. A moment that made me incredibly angry and, dear reader, I’m afraid to say I did a very great deal of swearing in the general direction of this cyclist, which is neither cool nor clever in front of a 3 year old.
I’ve had a lot of this in Cambridge. Once I was walking along a footpath and a fucking unicyclist almost ran into me. An unicyclist. That’s just taking the piss.
A different moment that made me incredibly angry was this weekend when I saw a man and his son cycling along the road. The road being the A10, a fast and busy route from London to Cambridge. The man was doing the pedalling while his son was placed on the handlebars. Not in a seat, or strapped in safely. Merely perched on the handlebars. On the A10.
I’m all for sustainable forms of transport but I’m sorry, you’re a cunt if you do that.
Some cyclists annoy a lot of other road users, and a lot of other road users annoy cyclists. In fact a lot of stupid drivers annoy other drivers too, like those one’s who drive really fast right up your arse, forcing you to speed up or move over. But then some pedestrians annoy everyone by stepping out at inappropriate moments, in unsafe areas. Some even do it pushing puchchairs or with toddlers which angers me lots.
It’s a battleground out there sometimes, but I wouldn’t think of entering a battleground without some armour. Which is why I chose to wear a helmet when cycling. And I’ll instruct my children to do the same when they are old enough to ride a bike.
Or I’ll kill them.
What do you think about this? What can we do to keep cyclists safe, decrease dangerous driving, and make the world a sweet and lovely place. Answers in my usual hole please.