The past few months we have seen some great changes in London city: smooth cycle lanes, the London cycle hire, bike cafes and shops popping up and a stream of famous people promoting cycling. Even my friends and acquaintances have been convinced to start riding; bicycles have even featured as birthday present surprises and statements of love. All these people have joined the cycling mania - but it has left me feeling a little bit uneasy as i often catch myself worrying about them! Are they going to be fine riding in the thick traffic of central London's narrow streets? Are the crazy taxi drivers going to treat them gently? Are they going to remember to wear their helmet, carry their lock and switch on their lights at night? I know, they are adults and my worry is unreasonable and slightly resembling my parents' paranoid and over the top attitudes to life! But, sometimes i cannot help worrying; because i feel it is not just cycling lanes that we need and docks to hire bikes from to be safe. I feel the whole London culture of drivers Vs cyclists needs to stop to truly accommodate cyclists in the city. Drivers need to learn to give cyclists enough space and treat them respectfully: they are after all in a much more vulnerable position than drivers. I am not saying cyclists are always "right" - i have seen cyclists doing some very stupid things...but i have not seen aggression by cyclists; whereas with drivers i have seen both stupidity and aggression and this is a very bad combination to have on the streets!
Last Sunday, good old Facebook delivered some of the news i always feared. A friend, hit by a car ended up hospitalized for almost a week: a broken skull, colar bone and shoulder. And all these happened while riding on a cycle lane - a car tried to overtake and hit her from behind. The good news is that she is recovering well and no further damage seems to have occurred. Thank God!
So, if you are a car driver please be careful out there. Give cyclists space - they are much more vulnerable than you and yes drive slowly! Be patient!
Sending healing vibes and love to S.xx
[stencil by Janet Bike Girl]