I opened my email today to find this very thought provoking piece sent on by a cycling club in response to yesterdays blog post about safer cycling on our roads. This is well worth a read, and especially well worth showing to any motorists you know. Every cyclist and motorist has some kind of a family and people who care about them. A split second decision in a moment of impatience can have a long lasting effect on the lives of many.
So, you’re driving in a 50 km/hr zone in any town, anywhere in Ireland, you come up behind a group of cyclists doing approx. 35 km/hr cycling 2 abreast, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
You get delayed by a few minutes maximum, as there will be a junction/traffic lights or a safe place to overtake coming up relatively shortly.
You pull off a risky overtaking manoeuvre, giving oncoming traffic and the cyclists a scary few moments while your car squeezes into a space that maybe just isn’t there. Some of the cyclists remonstrate with you through your car window when you have to pull up to stop at a T-junction anyway.
You have to accelerate above the 50 km/hr to pass the group of cyclists and squeeze your car into a space that isn’t really there and you clip off one of the cyclists in the middle, he veers into his mates. The cyclist in front of him loses control as his back wheel is clipped, he falls out in front of your car taking with him the guy in front too; you run over both of them. The cyclists behind all crash off as they have no run off area due to the high footpaths, one of them collides with the signpost for the upcoming T-junction and sustains a serious head injury. There is the sickening sound of metal scraping under your car, along with screams from the 2 husbands/fathers/brothers/sons/uncles that you have dragged down the road.
A vision of blood, anger, culpability, fear, desperation and realisation all collide in your mind as you come to comprehend the result of your actions. The next thing going through your mind is the knowledge that you are completely on your own; all other drivers who may have been your ally as you honked your horn at the nuisances on the road will desert you in droves as they thank their lucky stars that it isn’t them with a cyclist sticking out from under their car.
You begin to realise that this is probably the worst thing that has happened to you so far in your life.
If someone could wave a magic wand and undo it all, which option would you now choose?
Choose life. Not a life sentence.
Thanks to the cycling club who went to the effort of putting this great piece together and sending it on.