'Cyclist awareness is key'

Last updated 15:21 12/01/2012

The New Year is only 12 days old and I have read about the tragic death of a cyclist hit by a car in Tauranga and the serious injury to his partner; a serious bike vs car accident in Takapuna involving one of the country’s leading triathletes (which will no doubt have ramifications on that guys 2012 season) and the mindless abuse and violence inflicted on a couple from the US whilst cycling in Wellington – a couple I hasten to add rode the TelstraClear Challenge a month ago and posted a blog on their website that was read by hundreds of thousands worldwide. I cringe to read their next post!

That is 12 days of carnage – and these are only the reported stories that I have picked up. I am guessing there will be many more unreported incidents where motorists and cyclists have tangled.

Cyclists are not squeaky clean in this. I get that. But here is the clincher – in a car vs bike altercation almost always there is only one loser.

As someone who has been through a car windscreen – with a resulting injury that still affects me today – I know all too well the long term impact such accidents can have. I was lucky, I am here today.

And what was the ultimate cause – lack of respect / understanding / attention. Nothing else. That driver was not a bad person. She admitted to the fact that although she was aware of my presence on the road, she did not take the necessary precautions to keep us apart.

I do not pretend to know the reasons for the accidents above, but the bottom line remains the same. Awareness is a key.

As a motorist, you know the David and Goliath feeling generated by passing a large truck on a narrow road. Your senses are alert.

As you move up that road, you now become the Goliath to that cyclist you are about to pass. Perhaps you could become equally alert.

Maybe this simple action will be the start of the wind of change that we need.

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Den   #1   04:58 pm Apr 12 2012

Absolutely 100% agree with you. Cars are bigger and faster than cyclists and can cause a lot more damage than the other way around. Cyclists need to be aggressive at times, but they still need to respect the car as being the dominant party on the road. I ride on the Auckland city roads a lot, and have never (touch wood) had an accident with a car. There have been a few close calls, but because I am 'aware' all the time, read: WARY, I can enjoy the pure freedom of biking, rather get stressed over driver's behavior towards me.

It's about dealing with what you can control, i.e. your attitude and mindset.

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