I NEARLY killed a young woman the other day. It was her lack of foresight but I can’t get over the shock of it.
I was travelling at 60km/h on a three-lane highway. I was in the middle lane but needed to get into the left lane because at some point I had turn off.
I made my choice to change lanes when no cars were coming and it was safe.
Because the road was curving slightly to the left at that point, I couldn’t see in that split second that there was a cyclist smack bang in the middle of the left lane, I stress “middle” not on the side, crawling along at 15-20km/h.
As I switched lanes doing the 60km/h speed limit, I suddenly gained on her and had to screech my breaks so hard and fast that had anyone been behind me they would have smashed into me and caused a pile up.
As it was I hurt my neck, and ribs. Cars are not allowed to go that slow for this very reason.
My cleaner, who was at my home when I came in shaking, told me she drove past an accident scene recently involving three cyclists, who she later read had been riding next to each other and not in line when hit by a motorist changing lanes at 80km/h on a busy stretch of road.
Tracey Gaudry, president of the Amy Gillett Foundation (named after the Australian competition cyclist killed in Germany in 2005) said in a recent interview that the growing number of cyclist deaths had devastated the broader cycling community. “While road safety is improving for all road users on the whole, the same cannot be said for the safety of bicycle riders.”
The foundation recently cited “driver distraction”.
But what about safety for motorists from cyclist distraction?
Two weeks ago, a friend was turning right from Bondi Road, in Sydney. Because it was a beach day, the traffic was hardly moving.
As we all know, drivers stop at the green light rather than get stuck mid-road when the light changes; which allows other motorists to turn.
The situation was visible to anyone with their eye on the road.
My friend turned right just as a crazy cyclist came tearing out without looking. Screeeeeech!!! He lived; she lost 10 years of her life in fright.
Yes, cyclist deaths are tragically increasing, but it’s not always the fault of motorists or poor roads. The girl I almost killed was my daughter’s age, which has been haunting me, as has my painful neck.
She was possibly too young to know better or have had road experience – but I implore cyclists to protect themselves and motorists.
Not just with helmets, but with acute concentration and common sense.