I write following four near-accidents in Maplehurst’s Park Lane to issue a cyclist safety alert.
I have no wish to deny cyclists the joy of cycling along our country lanes, bridleways and heritage trails.
I just ask cyclists to respect the fact that dog walkers, horse riders, hikers, ramblers and family groups with young children also have an equal right to use these facilities.
So, when you are cycling at 30 mph along a narrow country lane with no pavements and you are approaching a group of walkers FROM BEHIND (with maybe dogs or children straddling the road), be aware that they do not hear your silent tubeless tyre high speed approach and that they do not have eyes in the back of their heads and are therefore unaware of your impending presence. (They do, of course, hear approaching motor vehicles and act accordingly)
There are two things you could do with this problem of ‘silent approach’.
1 You could slow down and alert them with a cheery “Good morning, I’m coming through” (or sound your bell) so that they could move aside for you and let you pass them safely.
2 You could continue your high speed ‘silent approach’ and swear at them as you pass at 30 mph blaming them for the near collision after one of the party moved to the left or right just as you were upon them.
The choice is yours BUT REMEMBER …
If you hit a dog on a lead at 30 mph, you will kill it.
If you hit a young child at 30 mph, you will severely injure it and maybe kill it.
If you hit an elderly walker at 30 mph you will cause irreparable damage.
If you hit any of the above, you may even kill yourself…
If you didn’t kill yourself, you would undoubtedly be sued by your victim.
Surely, cycling at a more leisurely speed of about ten to fifteen miles an hour on a lovely sunny English day might give you time to enjoy the scenery as compared with racing speeds in excess of 30 mph?
Why not use an ‘Off-Road’ track for speed and endurance training?
So all I ask is this… Just sound your approach and slow down before passing walkers.
Even then, be aware that a deaf person will still be oblivious to you approach!
Our beautiful country lanes can then be safe for all of us to enjoy, including you!
Park Lane, Maplehurst
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