I used to race bicycles.
When I was riding several hundred kilometres per week, I reckon my life was seriously threatened through the carelessness of others once or twice a week. Like most cyclists, I developed a sixth sense that helped keep me alive. And I was lucky.
I am not saying cyclists are without fault. I remember the Share the Road team being formed when James Faulding – one of the cyclists I used to race with – was killed out training. He was on the verge of selection for the New Zealand team and his sudden death was a shock to us all. As I recall, the driver didn’t indicate – but James must carry some of the blame – he was riding at dusk without lights. The Share the Road team was formed as a practical response to an ongoing problem. Education and awareness are still needed – for both drivers and cyclists.
This week, the unnecessary deaths of five cyclists in five days have prompted some action. The Coroner is going to investigate. People are blogging about it. The cycling advocates network has been vocal.
One of the more provocative pieces published today reminds that cyclists are ‘people too’. Thus Russell Brown has modified the expletives in a post by Greg Ford and published it as a piece of prose entitled: I’m not a f***ing cyclist. I’m Ruby’s daddy, on a bike. (Please be warned: the post contains strong language.)
Whatever the final outcome of the Coroner’s report, it is pleasing to see the matter properly examined. Advocates of driver and cyclist education have wondered how many more avoidable deaths it would take.