In the last week it has hit me really hard about safety while we are cycling. In the last 24 hours there has been one cyclist killed in Tasmania, a young female rider hit a parked car at Safety Beach and yesterday 2 men in their 20’s decided it would be fun to drive along Beach Road in Melbourne and hit riders with a rolled up newspaper.
I have a number of questions about these incidents: The young 21 year old male in Tassie was riding with another cyclist on an open road, the driver says he didn’t see them! What was in his way, was his attention elsewhere? The female who hit the car, was she too worried about cars passing her or was she busy chatting with someone and not paying attention? And what stupid planet did the 20 year old guys come from in the ute, thinking it was a good idea to hit people? A number of these cyclists came off their bikes causing injuries and most likely damages in the thousands. Luckily no one died!
A week ago today I went for a ride myself, it was a day filled with typical Melbourne weather, bit of sun, wind and then rain. I had ridden about 70km and I was 2km from home when I had to move over tram tracks because of road works. It was right near a tram depot with tram tracks running a number of different ways and the roads were wet. I wasn’t going very fast but hit the tracks the wrong way and came off my trike. Even though I wasn’t travelling very fast I hit the road pretty hard with my right side and my head hit very hard. First thing I thought was “thank god I have a helmet on”. I was lucky the road was wet and I slid, so not much damage to me. But upon getting home I realised that my helmet had cracked right through. If I hadn’t had that helmet on I don’t think I would be here (Yes mom I’m okay!) Even though it was at slow speed I’ve had a hell of a headache for a week.
The day before Christmas friends I ride with Tracey and Corinna were up near Shepparton to celebrate with Tracey’s parents. What a perfect place to go for a ride. They had just started out and as Corinna tried to scratch her leg her bike hit a stick on the shoulder they were riding on, as she tried to push the stick away from it hitting her, her hand got sucked into the front wheel which de-gloved her hand (ie the skin got ripped off) and she came off her bike hitting the road on her head. Corinna is more than lucky, her helmet cracked as well and she broke the T6 and T7 vertibrae, but her helmet saved her life. It hasn’t been a very nice Christmas for them as Corinna had to be flown to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for spinal surgery….but SHE’S ALIVE and will make a full recovery.
As I pulled out of my house to go and visit Corinna and Tracey at the hospital the other day I saw a young woman riding her bike on a very busy road, helmet on, but undone! Then on the way home another guy with no helmet at all. I’m sorry but I don’t understand why people are so stupid.
Getting back to the incidents in the last 24 hours, when I’m out riding I see all kinds of people doing the wrong thing from pedestrians to riders to drivers. It is not just the drivers that do the wrong things, it can be the cyclists as well. It’s time that we as cyclists who obey the road rules start saying something to those that don’t because it makes us all tarred by the same brush in the eyes of others. And drivers have to learn to share the road and idiots in vehicles who think its fun to hit or come as close to riders as possible have to realise they are playing with that riders life.
The Amy Gillett Foundation is trying to get it put into law that “A metre matters”, to get cars to pass cyclists by at least a metre, it certainly isn’t a hard thing to do. With only a few days until the new year I pray that we won’t have any more incidents like the past week. Please to all the cyclists out there…stay safe. To the drivers out there, remember most cyclists are drivers as well, lets make sure that we are all safe on the roads, each and every one of us wants to get home to our families in one piece. Happy New Year everyone.