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!