Have You Ever Been Knocked off the Bike?

According to a recent survey 1/3 of all cyclists have been knocked off their bike by other road users. In London, this rate rises to 42% -  the lowest proportion is in Wales, at just 25%. (Road CC)


I have been knocked off my bike twice by pedestrians. Fortunately, neither was serious. The first occasion was in Morecambe on the prom. Car traffic was stationary in a traffic jam, but the road was very wide enough for a cyclist to cycle along on the inside. Without looking, a pedestrian stepped out into the road straight into my path. I wasn’t badly injured and I definitely didn’t tell my grandma who lived in Morecambe! I don’t remember being too annoyed and I think the pedestrian apologised and felt sorry.

It was a classic example of a pedestrian assuming that cars are the only vehicles on the road. There is also a temptation to use sound rather than sight.

In that case the pedestrian was to blame because they didn’t look, but blindly stepped into the road. But, it also taught me that you have to be very careful cycling in stationary traffic. Pedestrians and other road users will often assume that all traffic is stationary. I think if you cycle in stationary traffic, you have to be extra vigilant, extra careful and cycle slower than usual – being prepared to stop quicker than usual.

I don’t believe it is always wrong to keep cycling when traffic is stationary. That’s one of the advantages of cycling – you can beat the traffic jams. But, sometimes, it would be better to wait or be much more cautious. You have to be especially careful of cycling along inside if there is left turning traffic.

The other incident when I got knocked off my bike was on a nice wide cycle path – The kind of cycle path that is supposed to create safe cycling! It was a shared cycle path and a young child just ran into my direction. Actually, he didn’t knock me off. I fell off avoiding the kid. I was travelling pretty slow. And again the accident was pretty minor. I still use that cycle path almost everyday and generally there are no problems. It’s still a good cycle path – you just have to be slower than usual and always expect that young children will run into your path!

These are the only two occasions I’ve been knocked off my bike. Both were at slow speeds and both were caused by pedestrians.

Fortunately, I’ve never been knocked off by motor vehicles, although sometimes I’ve come close with vehicles passing very close or not expecting to see a cyclist on the road.

The problem is I feel some drivers drive with the knowledge that they are protected by a pretty strong box of metal. If they happen to crash it’s a bit expensive to repair, but it’s not so bad. If their limbs were on the outside of the vehicle, I’m sure they would drive very differently!


6 Responses to Have You Ever Been Knocked off the Bike?

  1. paul November 21, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    5th of September 2012 broadsided buy a Bus as it flew through a give way line. Hair line fracture to the base of my spine, punctured lung, 3 broken ribs, broken left wrist, 3 fractures to left scapula
    7 to left clavicle, broken jaw a broken neck, now fused with a titanium pin as carbon fiber wasn’t an option and a very attractive pattern of bruising on my ugly mug. 10th of September this year side swiped by a police car joining main carriage way from the left. Ironically the PC driving is a cyclist who was near to tears unable to believe what he had done. Broken right side of my clavicle. Just a scratch relay. PS I always wear a helmet.

  2. Lewis November 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    I almo

    • Lewis November 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

      I almost came off today actually when a group of peds stepped out into road without looking.

      I was knocked off by a pedestrian once when I was cycling home from work one evening. It was late and dark, I was coming down a hill, probably at 20-25mph and a woman wearing all black stepped out from between two parked cars. I only saw her at the last minute, braked and clipped her shoulder with my own, causing me to come tumbling off. She was fine, but blamed the whole thing on me for going “too fast”. I got away with a few scrapes and bruises and fortunately had a helmet on, as my head did knock the road a couple of times. But I was pretty damn mad!

  3. Dr C. November 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    I’ve been knocked off three times, all by motorists. The first (and most severe) of these was a motorist who overtook me to make a left turn. I hit the side of the car and had to go to hospital for stitches by my right eye and near my chin. Thankfully I wasn’t wearing a helmet, and act which may have saved my life. The second time was a motorist who overtook me to pull left into a parking space. I had to brake very hard (I had a better bike by this point) and I went over the bars and grazed my arms but did not come into contact with the car. The third time was during the heavy snow a few years back, when a motorist who did not have a great deal of control over their vehicle slid out in front of me and I had to brake hard causing the bike to slide out from under me. Again, I managed to at least avoid contact with the vehicle.

    Pedestrians, whilst occasionally a bit annoying, have not really been a problem for me. As they are least dangerous road user, in choosing to ride a bike I have a duty of care to them and have so far managed to anticipate their occasional mistakes. The one close call I had was a man who suddenly and for no apparent reason lurched from the pedestrian side of a converted footway into the bike side. I stopped in time and didn’t hit him, but he took offence at my exclamation of something along the lines of “Bloody hell!” whilst I tried not to hit him after his sudden, baffling lurch rightwards. Hilariously, he then gave chase.

  4. Tom Randall November 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Very good words – A lot of cyclists don’t seem to realise that they are putting themselves at risk when riding in heavy traffic by going as fast as possible at all times, and over/undertaking everything – a little bit of caution makes a massive difference.
    I don’t think we are helped by the image that bike shops and manufacturers portray for “commuting” bikes, urban, fast etc which makes it seem that you need to be racing and being aggressive.
    I’m saying this in hindsight after being knocked off when arguably if I had been going a bit slower I might have avoided a serious collision, but then again it was a “SMIDSY”.

  5. Dave November 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Yes… Actually…


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