‘We sell headstones dot com ‘

This morning as I threw my leg over the bike at the back door looking at the orange hue of the sun rising over the Comeraghs I inhaled a deep breath of crisp air and thought that this was a great day to be alive . And what better way to get it off to a good start than by heading out for a 40k spin before work .

Within 5 minutes I was riding along deserted country roads enjoying the peace and quiet . After a while I had to cross the main road at Barn , but even this was pretty traffic free . However , just as I approached the next junction I was jolted into the present moment as my life flashed before me . A car came tearing around the sweeping bend so fast that it was on the edge of the road , 30 feet in front of me , on my side of  the road . The driver flicked the car and made it back onto his own side before reaching me .

Well , these things happen so I continued on with my spin . The rest of the route via Grange and Newcastle was unusual . Sometimes , having a ‘close one ‘ will have zero effect , other times it makes you stop and think . I found myself looking around me more and noticing a lot more . At one point I could see the Galtee’s , The Knockmeldowns , The Comeraghs and Slievenamon . The sun was an orange ball in the sky and I had the wind on my back . Life was good .

On my way home on the Cahir road roundabout a truck stopped about 4 feet short of the white line as I was going around giving me lots of room and a clear indication that he wasn’t going to pull out in front of me , as often happens . The driver seemed very ‘cyclist friendly’ and as the ‘Irohaul’ ( haulage company based in Mallow Co. Cork ) truck passed me on the bypass I even noticed a cyclists caution sign on the rear . Top marks to this company for being so proactive in sharing the road .

However , at the very next roundabout , I had a very different experience .  As I was approaching the junction a big yellow truck accelerated so that it would be alongside me as I entered the roundabout . The driver pushed the cab of his truck ahead of me and I begun to decelerate as I could see that he was not looking in his passenger mirror to check where I was . Now , I am big on a bike and I was wearing a yellow helmet , yellow gear head to toe and I was on a yellow bike . Feck it , I was like big bird  on a bike . This driver however , seemed intent on making big birds extinct . Exiting the roundabout he moved right across in front of me and his tires brushed the footpath in front of me . I found myself entering a 6 foot vee between a truck and a 5 inch kerb . Having 20 years of experience stood me in good stead as I was anticipating a manoeuvre of this nature and was just about able to stop in time .

The driver of the 08 TN www.wesellstone.com (or www.wesellheadstones.com as it might be called ) truck was totally oblivious to how close he came to making  my wife a widow and probably couldn’t care less .

Perhaps a campaign to name and shame companies whose employees put the lives of cyclists and other road users in danger might be an idea . If companies were black listed so to speak and their bottom line was affected they might have more interest in ensuring that their mobile company representatives have more respect for the lives of other road users . If this saved one life it would be worth while .

What do you think ?

Barry

www.thecyclingblog.com

——————————————-UPDATE ———————————–

Today I recieved a very positive response from www.wesellstone.com via www.igopeople.com ;

Hi Barry, I was very annoyed to hear about your near miss with one of our trucks. Today, the transport team in We Sell Stone.Com and I are going to have a look at how we deal with this situation in We Sell Stone.com. We will look at possibly getting stickers on the back of the Trucks Hows My Driving ? The driver of that incident will be reprimanded and it will not be taken lightly. We apoligize for the distress caused. We do not take safety lightly in We Sell Stone. Com over the last 12 years we have invested a lot of time and money in making sure our Quarrying & Distribution business is one of the safest in our sector. We will make sure that we learn from this. Thank you for your patience. Regards. David Kinsella

I think that this is a very positive and proactive response from the company and a good example of the power of the web !

Barry

www.thecyclingblog.com

24 thoughts on “‘We sell headstones dot com ‘

  • April 9, 2009 at 4:20 am
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    as long as fossil fuels and cars exist, cyclists will always have to fend off traffic. defensive cycling is the only solution because quite frankly, should a truck and cyclist collide, there is no question as to who will come out the survivor. vehicles are supposed to share the road, but the responsibility is still on the cyclist to be safe.

    i’m a cyclist myself. love the sport, hate the traffic.

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  • April 9, 2009 at 9:21 am
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    I’ll second that thought. I’ve been thinking about putting up a name and shame site for a while. Lets thwor soem ideas together.

    I’ll register the domain and host the site.

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  • April 9, 2009 at 10:05 am
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    I’m not a cyclist – mostly because it’s too blody dangerous I feel in this country!! I’d totally support a name and shame website. Great idea I think.

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  • April 9, 2009 at 10:47 am
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    Good you’re still alive, big fella! We all have stories like that to a varying degree. As I said in a recent post (http://quirkeproperty.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-brushes-with-death-part-1.html), we have near-death experiences almost every day, we just rarely see them, at least not as vividly as you did!
    Gianni, a site like that would be a great way to publicise the dangers of cycling. It might also improve the road for all users. How about wheelwidthfromdeath.com or cyclistshavefamilies.com?

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  • April 9, 2009 at 10:48 am
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    Thanks for the comments so far .

    Fair play Gianni . Maybe http://www.savethecyclist.ie or dotcom or something along those lines might work .

    Perhaps a site which would list both good and bad drivers might be an idea . Support companies who make an effort to drive safely and avoid companies who do the opposite .

    Barry

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  • April 9, 2009 at 11:36 am
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    I like the name suggestions so far 🙂 .

    Will we leave this open for a few days or so and then see if there’s a name everyone likes?

    I think that the site should be fair in the sense that there are cyclists out there who also need some advice on how to “behave” on the roads. It would also make the site more respectable and not just a site for ranting / raving cyclists.

    I’ve seen plenty of cyclists out training who show total disregard for motorists and this just gets people’s backs up and does us no favours and I think that a balanced view would be beneficial.

    I think the good / bad driver experiences is the way to go.

    Tips for motorist and cyclist might be a good addition to the site ?

    Any more ideas?

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  • April 9, 2009 at 2:30 pm
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    Good thinking Gianni ,

    For sure many cyclists could do with advice on how best to conduct themselves also on the roads . Advice directed towards motorists in a positive manner is also a great idea .

    Barry

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  • April 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm
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    Barry,

    Roundabouts !!! Death traps would perhaps be a better description of them.

    Simple common sense needs to be employed, especially while on a bike.

    I personally dont agree with a name and shame website, especially in the current climate. Me thinks all cycling clubs should voluntarily devote some time to our local schools encouraging the safe use of bikes as should the Road Safety Authority. Educating the young is easier than teaching an old dog new tricks !!
    I’ve been cycling for 37 years and driving for 23 years and to be honest I’ve been irresponsible at times using both modes of transport, as have we all.

    Pointing fingers solves absolutely nothing, educating people about the responsibility of being a safe road user makes it a safer place for every body !!!!!

    Why don’t Worldwidecycles.com run a CYCLE SAFE schools program ?? Maybe sell a few bikes as an added bonus !!!!

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  • April 9, 2009 at 5:29 pm
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    Hi, I believe that a ‘name and shame site’ is a great idea. I have to disagree with Darren as we have all have had close calls/ near death experiences with wreckless and impatient drivers and it’s only a matter of time until someone we know gets killed while out doing what we all love. But saying that we as cyclists have to always respect the rules of the road and other users, as we are not always right!! Althought right or wrong we normally will always come out worst. I dont care about business being hurt by ‘[name and shame’ in these hard times as no company should tolerate or employ dangerous drivers. Dangerous drivers should be reported and prosecuted, end of story.

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  • April 9, 2009 at 10:23 pm
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    Nice to see some lively debate .

    I think that Pat and Vinnie make a very good point when saying that we all have had close shaves . Does this mean that we should all just avoid roundabouts or busy main roads ? I think not , we live in a free society where a healthy , eco friendly activity such as cycling should be encouraged and cherished .

    Cycling Ireland have a good schools safe cycling programme in place but the motorists are the ones responsible for the vehicles they control .

    Nowadays the web is the fastest most effective way of getting a message out there . I really feel that if a group of cyclists were to get together to create a web presence where cyclists and motorists could be educated on how best to share the public roads and companies with good drivers are commended and companies with dangerous drivers are highlighted we could make a difference .

    As I said earlier if one life were to be saved it would be worthwhile .

    I also believe that in the current economic climate business’s are even more concious of any type of adverse publicity and will be more inclined to take action to remedy any issues .

    But this is only my tuppence worth , feel free to add yours !

    Barry

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  • April 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm
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    Hi Barry,

    I think a site like this is a very good idea. I’ve been knocked off my bike a good few times, once even with my 1 year old son on the back, and always because of laziness or arm-chancery on the part of the driver.

    Whatever about taxi or commercial drivers in my experience there would be no name to be shamed i.e. the culprit is gone before you can even get their details in case you or your bike need repairs or whatever.

    Could we also consider naming and shaming local authorities for badly maintained and poorly planned roads? All I have to say is the corner of Leeson St/ Earlsfort Tce and Stephen’s Green and any Dubliner, cyclist or otherwise, will know exactly what I mean. It’s a disgrace of a junction for all road users.

    Roseanne

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  • April 10, 2009 at 7:37 am
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    Hi all,

    Some good idea’s floating around there.
    Barry would it not have been better to ring the company direct and report the trucks dangerous driving ! Yes, free speech is our constitutional right but someone with a grudge & a keyboard can do serious damage to an individual or a company, but thankfully we have laws to cover this. Also you say that cycling ireland have a good school safe cycling program in place but NONE of my 3 school going children have ever heard of it, nor has their school principal, but she will now !!!!!
    I understand exactly what Vinnie is saying, I’ve had personal experience of poor road user’s in recent time’s especially while out cycling and both happened at roundabouts. On both occasions I ended up on the deck. Also while out on a Sunday cycle with my 12 yr old son recently while negotiating the Kilheffernan roundabout on the main Clonmel Waterford road he was struck by a car being driven by a young female, she didn’t bother to stop, but thankfully he was o.k. Roundabouts are an extremely dangerous place as are our highway’s and byway’s, but as the cyclist is the most vulnerable road user, extreme caution has to be taken. We are responsible for our own safety BE SAFE BE SEEN !!!! Bright colours and of course a helmet, which by the way is not a legal requirement in this great Country of ours. There’s a worthwhile campaign, the compulsary use of helmets for ALL CYCLIST’S !!!

    Roseanne makes a very good point about Naming & Shaming the local authorities & Co. Councils, this may be a more worthwhile excercise as the state of the road’s can be more of a problem than the road user’s.

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  • April 10, 2009 at 1:46 pm
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    Sorry to hear about your brush with a lorry Barry – must have shaken you up.

    A website is a good idea but will not do much except keep a register of the ‘nutters’ that are repeat offenders on our roads – both motorists and cyclists. The real problem (in the north) is not lorry drivers. I find that “professional” drivers who rely on driving to feed their kids and can’t afford to have an accident such as lorry drivers and bus drivers are very courteous to cyclists. It’s the boy and more commonly now, girl racers along with the stressed office worker in their own private cars that are the biggest threat. Sunday morning is especially lethal around 10.50am when a family is late for church. How many times have you been forced to avoid a well dressed family who don’t slow down because God is present in the car and they can’t be seen to be late for their weekly dose of hypocrisy?

    I recently discussed the production of a TV advert to defuse the myth “that all cyclists are a nuisance”. The producers were more interested in Drink Drive adverts as government stats show more road deaths due to this activity and subsequently they receive a bigger commission.

    The real problem is the lack of interest from police when an incident is reported. I had the closest coffin fitting ever last year. When I reported it to the police they suggested that “I was probably all over the road” As a result I wouldn’t ride on the roads for over a year.

    Yes, a website will show repeat offenders of dangerous driving and would be so easy to set up, but C.I. needs to appoint safety officers within clubs who are recognised as a responsible and experienced rider. This member should be able to contact the police where incidents occur and have more support (from both C.I. and police) than a randomly complaining bike rider. The common criticism from motorists here is that we don’t pay tax and have no license. If a club safety officer was provided with a short course funded by their federation this would help to make this comment null and void.

    It would also be beneficial in cases where motorists, horse riders or pedestrians have a complaint about a cyclist. The local police could contact the local safety officer to have a word with the cyclist(s) involved. Almost like a character witness or intermediary it would cut down the workload for the police and show a constructive approach on behalf of cyclist to share the roads responsibly. I repeatedly see the same local cyclists (who should know better) breaking red lights or crossing the white line.

    Until something is done we will continue to see cyclists killed each year while motorists get a slap on the wrist and get off on the most whimsical of excuses.

    Another suggestion is that all C.I. license holders should have their number permanently displayed on their bike (just like a car number plate) Most bike races make you do this anyway. This would level the playing field and allow motorists to identify dangerous cyclists rather than thinking that Lance Armstrong was riding down their street.

    A subject close to my heart and one worthy of more urgent debate. Look at the laws and road signs around the world in relation to this matter and you will see that in the UK & Ireland people have a frightenly beligerant attitude on the roads.

    Andy.

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  • April 10, 2009 at 9:41 pm
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    Barry,
    Glad to hear you escaped with no broken bones and still in one piece after your escapade. As an original roadie who has had to take to the mountains to cycle and am in complete sympathy with cyclists, may I reiterate some comments already made.
    Cyclists must bear in mind that being in the “right” or having the right of way is of no use when a cyclists and vehicle of any type come in contact. Therefore, the wearing of a bright coloured helmet is essential as is the wearing of bright coloured clothing.
    Given the lack of driving skills of many drivers including so called professionals, cyclists must now cycle defensively especially at junctions and roundabouts.
    I think that any near miss cuased by drivers should be reported to the authorities whether it be a company, truck owner, whatever.
    Some have mentioned in the blog being struck by / in contact with vehicles that do not stop ! This is a hit and run, as such should be reported to the nearest Garda station immeadiately (most cyclists carry mobile phones), not always easy to get a reg. no. in the fright of the moment.

    Regards and safe cycling.
    Seamus.

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  • April 11, 2009 at 8:50 am
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    Barry,
    Good to see you don’t need the Head Stones yet and your new bike is ok too, haha? A lot o good stuff has been written on this issue in the past few days. Where can you take it from here?
    There are a few in partciular I like and agree totally with:-
    1) Ring the company and advise them. A lot of truckers have this sign on the back of the truck “How is my driving” with a Phone Number, lets take it up and ring them.
    2) Ring the Gardai but unless you have all the details you are waisting your time and their time.
    3) If someone could set up some kind of name & shame site as mentioned earlier, but it must be high profile and if the name keeps appearing on the site them the Gardai need to pay them a call or better still give the details of all the offenders to the Insurance Companies. If it doesn’t hit the Drivers in the pocket they won’t do a thing. It is as easy to slow down and keep everyone safe as it is to bull through.
    This is a huge issue that cannot be fully discussed or finalised on the Blog. I guess in the mean time I guess it is just a case of taking it easy and not to take on Trucks and cars.
    Regards,
    Ben

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  • April 11, 2009 at 9:15 pm
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    Forget the naming and shaming on the Internet. Name and shame them to the Gardai via the TrafficWatch phone line, and give a formal statement at the station then they follow up. It’s not a perfect system, but I’ve had drivers fined and given penalty points as a result of my reports.

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  • April 16, 2009 at 10:32 am
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    I’ve been thinking about all of our comments regarding Barry’s blog and felt compelled to compile the following list of TIPS FOR CYCLIST’S :

    1. Always wear a Helmet.
    2. Know the rules of the road & Stick to them.
    3. Always wear bright coloured clothing.
    4. Always concentrate and anticipate problems.
    5. Signal your intentions clearly.
    6. Use cycle lanes where provided.
    7. Never use a mobile phone when cycling, pull over.
    8. Never wear headphones while cycling. Your hearing is a vital sense while cycling.
    9. Avoid cycling during rush hour times if possible.
    10. Keep your bike in good working order, especially the brakes.
    11. Never argue or gesticulate to angry drivers. If necessary get their registration number and report them to the Gardai ( witnesses would be vital if reporting an incident to the Gardai. )

    Pedal on & be safe !!!!!!!

    Darren………

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  • April 16, 2009 at 11:16 am
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    Over the last 5 days I’ve had

    a) Occupants of one car throw liquid at my face while driving past
    b) Hit by a bottle by drunken idiots (I had seen them parked outside a pub and will be giving details + CCTV footage from pub to Gardai)
    c) Had a soccer ball purposely kicked at my wheels while going past some teenagers. Of course when I turned around and confroted them, they quickly looked for excuses.

    The point is that there a lot of idiots out there who think that when we’re on a bike we can’t see or read. It’s not only the “normal” traffic incidents we need to highlight but these stupid “attacks” by brainless morons who think it’s cool to do this.

    Gianni

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  • April 18, 2009 at 11:55 pm
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    kw, I don’t agree that the inherent difficulty that bikes have with sharing the road with trucks is true for all motor vehicles. Cars and bikes, competently operated, need have no problems sharing the road.

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  • April 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm
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    Agree with IanWorthy totally, also anyone who has cycled on the continent will not have experienced any of this carry on. And why? Because there is total respect and understaning of cyclists. Its nothing to do with cars being the more lethal form of transport, but its the attitude of Irish drivers as more often than not they wont be even reported let alone prosecuted.

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  • April 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm
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    Today, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey unveiled new framework for the first Irish Policy for cycling and cyclists. At last a step in the right direction. See the attached article from Irish cycling.com. http://tinyurl.com/c569p4

    Darren….

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  • September 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm
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    Great idea lads. I’ll use the site and choose not to purchase from companies who disregard cyclist safety.

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