If you have watched cycle races such as the Tour de France, you will see some horrendous crashes. A cyclist traveling at high speed catches the arm or wheel of another cyclist and goes down, taking out 10 or 20 others with them. Then what happens?
Most of them get back up, and carry one cycling, despite the torn shirt and shorts, despite the blood pouring out of their arms and legs.
If you have ever seen a cyclist in a collision with a car, you will know the outcome is very different. There is usually no getting back up carrying on. Rather there is a fast ride in the back of an ambulance to the hospital. That is, if the cyclist is still alive.
When you mention cycling accidents to the motor car lobby, they respond with things like:
- Cyclists need to stop squeezing up the inside of the lane
- Cyclists need to choose quieter stretches of road or use the cycle lane
- Cyclists do not respect signals
- Cyclists need to wear brighter clothing
- Cyclists take up too much space on the road
- Cyclists travel too fast
- Cyclists knock each other off
The one thing that is missing from that list is any mention of motor vehicles or drivers. It is as if every crash is somehow the cyclist’s fault.
Think back to school. Who would the teachers have blamed if you were running around at break time and bumped into a much younger child? You, of course, because you were the bigger kid. There is an expectation that bigger kids need to take care around little ones to avoid hurting them. So why is the same not true on the roads?
Technically, it is. Drivers have a responsibility to look out for and take extra care around smaller road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. It’s just that many ignore that responsibility. If one of them knocks you off your bike and injures you, claiming compensation allows you to remind them.