Like a boss
I had my first bike crash in London today whilst cycling home from work. I was riding in the cycle lane across Westminster Bridge, following another cyclist, when without warning or reason a pedestrian/tourist just stepped out in front of us.
We both shouted warning and slammed on the breaks, but it was too late. We were probably doing 15-20 mph and we were far too close to stop in time. We didn’t stand a chance.
The male cyclist in front veering right collided with the woman. He was thrown from his bike, out into traffic in the bus lane. I tried to stay on course, but the male cyclist knocked her straight back into my path, all I could do was wait for impact.
If you’ve ever been in a crash ( I wrote off my car at the age of 18) – it’s true what they say – time seems to slow down. I had enough time to think – shit i’m going fast enough to break both my arms and potentially kill her. Luckily neither of those things happened, I hit her full on in the back and sent sprawling 6-10ft down the road, stopping dead in my tracks.
Somehow, despite the force of the impact and the distance the woman was thrown, she seemed unharmed. She laughed, before running back on to the pavement to join her friends without even the hint of an apology. One can only assume this was a reaction to shock.
The male cyclist by this time was thankfully not under the wheels of a Black Cab or London Bus, but back on his bike, plus a few scrapes and bruises. He even had enough time to grace the woman a few of the finer phrases you may learn in the English dictionary. I stayed on my bike, no broken bones, just filled with anger at the woman’s stupidity and lack of remorse.
And that was it, we were both back on our bikes heading for home. We shared a brief exchange at the next lights about how insane the whole incident was and then parted ways perhaps a mile further down the road.
Why TFLs ‘share the road’ campaign doesn’t work in the real world…
As I continued my cycle home I though about the irony of TFL’s new advert for the Share the Road campaign. For those that haven’t seen it, i’ve tagged it on the bottom of this post. The campaign preaches ‘understanding’, urging road users to ‘take a breath’ and let it go, the moment has passed.
It’s a nice sentiment in practice, but when I apply it to todays real world situation and it doesn’t work for me, not with the potential consequences. I’m obeying the rules of the road, this pedestrian steps out in front of me and another cyclist. Now today no one was badly hurt, but it could have been so different.
The cyclist in front of me could have been knocked under the wheels of a London Bus, ultimately crushed to death. The pedestrian knocked down, fracturing her skull, never to reawaken. And me, thrown from my bike, breaking both arms and spending the rest of my life with the guilt of killing another scenario. The ripple effect impacting countless other lives.
That one moment of carelessness could have cost lives. My natural reaction to this can only be anger. That one careless moment could have cost three lives and I can’t just wash that a way with a deep breath or understanding.
So there you have it….my two cents.