Just before Christmas on a rather cold and damp afternoon, I watched a Lycra clad cyclist make a speedy right turn at a mini roundabout on the outskirts of Preston.
As his back wheel hit the greasy white paint of the mini roundabout, his bike went from underneath him and he ended up skidding 20 feet or so, straight into the path of the on coming traffic.
Thankfully, the car nearest to him slammed its brakes on and managed to pull up perhaps a few yards or so from the cyclist’s head. It’s the nearest I’ve come to actually witnessing a fatal accident and by sheer good fortune the cyclist only suffered some bruising and a large friction burn.
This incident is one of the reasons I’ve had a rethink about buying a new bike and taking up cycling as my New Year resolution. I haven’t got the up to date cycling casualty statistics for Lancashire but I am aware that for the four month period between April and July 2013, there were 53 cyclists killed or seriously injured on our roads. That compares to just 29 casualties during the same period last year.
Cycling is becoming more and more popular, it’s good for your health, it’s cheaper than driving and having ridden the Preston Guild Wheel I do agree that it can be very enjoyable.
But I think there are three main problems; firstly many of our roads in Lancashire are not suitable to cater for both motor vehicles and cyclists.
Secondly, many motorists drive too aggressively and without due consideration for cyclists, and thirdly, some cyclists ride around in a world of their own, going through red lights and swerving into traffic without looking behind them.
Added to the safety issue, is the problem of cycle theft. My local gym has big posters warning that their car park is a cycle theft hot spot and Lancashire police are now conducting a cycle crime prevention initiative in the New Year due to the extent of the issue throughout Lancashire.
So instead of having a cycling resolution this year, I am going to make a cycling prediction. I think the number of cycling casualties will continue to increase in 2014, along with an increase in cycle thefts.
Until there are more cycle lanes and a significant change in attitude by some motorists and cyclists, the carnage is going to continue. My resolution for this year is to do more walking!