A case for more cycle lanes… if anyone can be bothered…

Reading time: 3 minutes

On Tuesday morning at precisely 8 o’clock I crashed in to the back of a moped on my bicycle. And it hurt.

The moped had just overtaken me and then braked sharply in front of me to turn left at the junction of the Old Kent Road – in the direction of Elephant & Castle – and Surrey Square.

Now if you’re a cyclist you get used to this kind of hazard and normally you have time to cycle round the obstruction. Of course if they thought for a moment they’d realise how utterly stupid and selfish their manoeuvre actually is.

Unfortunately in this instance, my path around the moped was blocked by a light green Renault Kangoo which was moving pretty quickly from the congested right lane to the left lane which was pretty clear in front… apart from me and the moped.

The Renault driver would have had full view of me and the moped and would have been able to anticipate our movements, but didn’t.

So in a split second my reflexes took over. I didn’t overtake as this would have meant colliding with the Renault. Instead I braked as much as I could and crashed in to the back of the moped. There was a loud cracking sound. In fact it sounded more like a car crash. The moped and driver shunted forward. I went over the handle bars and landed on the bit of tarmac now vacated by the moped.

No broken bones, but my hands and right knee were consdierably bloodied from the impact with the Old Kent Road, pieces of which I removed later that morning. Apparently it’s called “road burn” – delightful! Plus mild shock and some muscular aches and pains in neck, back and arms.

So who caused this accident? In the immediate aftermath my anger was directed towards the Renault driver. But since replaying the incident in my head dozens of times, I can’t help feeling that even though I ended up crashing in to the back of him, the moped driver held some responsibility.

The other thing that has struck me, as well as leaving me feeling upset and angry, is that no-one, NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON, stopped to see if I was alright!

That includes the Renault and the moped drivers.

Isn’t it just as illegal to leave the scene of an accident with a bicycle as it is with a car.

That’s right, everyone just carried on as if nothing had happened. Well most of them slowed down a little to gawp.

There’s no wikipedia entry yet for “Bystander apathy” – I guess everyone’s just waiting for someone else to do it.

When I asked on two separate occasions for some passing traffic wardens to call the police, they said that unless I had a registration number from the car or moped there was no point.

So to add insult to injury I really was made to feel like a second-class citizen because I was on a bicycle and not destroying the environment with my carbon-burning car.

As many people have pointed out since, it could have been a lot worse.

I guess I can only hope the other drivers involved have it on their conscience enough to avoid causing this kind of accident in the future.

I’ve had some kind messages from friends and family and I will be back on my bike very soon.

6 Replies to “A case for more cycle lanes… if anyone can be bothered…”

  1. Glad your okay. Hows the bike looking? 😉
    As for bystander apathy. I was heartened to see many people go to the aid of an elderly passenger who collapsed on a packed communter train last week. Have faith.

  2. Nic, what do you look like? I think i might have cycled by you soon after your accident – when you were speaking to the traffic warden. You seemed to be ok, if not a bit angry. Or it could have been someone else.

  3. Hey Nic,

    This is horrific. Glad you’re okay though.
    My current bugbear is left-turning vehicles of all kinds – especially cars cutting into cycle-lanes. But I’ll not that less powerful vehicles can also do damage.

  4. Sorry to hear about this Nic but interested as to why you discounted the bunny hop over the moped or car into manual roll option? Had I been nearby I would of course have rushed an invogarating pint over to you at the scene. Keep on the bike.

Leave a Reply