Thursday, 1 March 2012

Left Hook...Ouch!!

Did the school run today and then a quick cycle to work in the rush hour traffic at about 09.15hrs. On the way I came a cropper when a motorist did a left hook on me just as I was filtering up the inside. Daylight, bright red top, Schmidt Edelux beaming away and CatEye Single Shot on strobe at mirror height still wasn't enough to notice me...because the driver never looked in the wing mirror!

I had been passing standing/crawling traffic on the outside. I'd moved to the inside a few car lengths before because the cars had thinned out a tad, a pedestrian island loomed ahead blocking my way and a bus/taxi/cycle lane started just after the next side road. I passed a couple of cars at the rear of the next queue and was just about to pass the side road when the motorist level with it decided to indicate and turn left all at the same time.

I had slowed from 20 mph to about 12 mph while filtering this section and was level with the boot of the vehicle as this happened and slammed both brakes on (which I was already covering). I had no where to go except forward. I'd hit the brakes so hard though I stopped the bike and went over the bars doing a roll onto the ground just by the rear of the car which was now sideways on. I think the bike did a 180 degree flip and landed on the rear rack busting the Busch and Muller Toplight Plus lens before it fell (gently) onto me! 

View Larger Map

The side road on the left and central traffic island with the bus lane just ahead 

I never made contact with the car but the driver realised what happened and pulled over in the side road. Several drivers got out from the standing traffic and a cyclist I knew stopped. There was much fussing telling me to keep still but I knew my main injury was a slight knock to my back where the bike had made contact and so I waved off any concern. I despise people who abuse the system and seek compensation for supposed injuries. The driver admitted fault straight away, gave profuse apologies and offered to pay for any damage to the bike so I decided to let it go at that, although not before pointing out they should check side mirrors and flipping an indicator does not provide some automatic right to turn.

We swapped numbers and I'll be in touch with the driver with the replacement cost for the light. I think I'll be upgrading to a Busch and Muller Toplight Brake Plus which acts as a combined rear light and brake light. At least something good came out of it anyway!

The new light!


  1. At least your alright which is the main thing and the driver admitted fault, the problem is it could so easily not have been the outcome.
    I wish the Government would run a TV ad campaign showing the dangers cyclist's face from motorists on a daily basis,most drivers just don't know what danger they put cyclists in............. Rant over

    1. I know what you mean Mark. Some drivers think we have no right on to be on the road at all. When I have been in Primary or positioning to turn right in full view of following traffic I have been berated for "being in the middle of the road". Err...yes! That is where I intend/need to be. Others have gone on about me "weaving" around sitting traffic. Yes again! The traffic is not moving and some of it is blocking what cycle lane there is. Of course I am going to go round the cars to get to the front of the half mile long queue. It is called filtering.

      I think some drivers just don't care about anyone else on the road but themselves, others are too lazy or ignorant to drive at an appropriate level while a few are very good and considerate. I would like cycle safety to be covered at greater level within driving licence prep and testing and a publicity campaign would be good too.

  2. 'I despise people who abuse the system and seek compensation for supposed injuries.'

    But if you'd gone down the compensation route for stress etc then you could have cost the motorist's insurance company some money. They'd put his premium up because of the claim and that might make him a bit more careful in the future and a cyclist's life might just be saved.

    As it is, the motorist will probably have forgotten the incident by now and another cyclist he comes across might not be as lucky as you.

    1. Pete I'm afraid we disagree on this one.

      Of course I could have feigned injury and stress gone on to seek compensation and it would have caused the driver some considerable cost and hassle. It would also be fraud. It is also one of the reasons all motor insurance policies are increasing. By persuing a false claim I might also have been guilty of causing the driver + friends + family to consider cyclists as opportunist compensation seekers!

      If my bike or I had been seriously damaged I would have had no qualms seeking appropriate redress. However, the cost was minimal, I have no serious injury and I am quite sure that particular driver will be much more cyclist aware now.

    2. How do you know how much stress you suffered?

      Nobody can judge that for themselves.

      Whenever a road accident happens profesional legal and medical advice should be taken.

      If car insurance premiums are increased a result then so be it.

      That can only mean fewer cars on the road.

      Do you have a problem with that?

  3. Pete.

    Not sure if you are winding me up but just in case you are being serious...I disagree.

    "How do you know how much stress you suffered?

    Nobody can judge that for themselves.

    Whenever a road accident happens professional legal and medical advice should be taken."

    In the initial assessment of injury after an RTC, some people may need/require expert medical advice to assess their injuries. This group would consist of those who had, for example, one or more of the following: an impact injury to the head, were unconcious for any period of time, complained of neck pain, were trapped by any part of the body, had any loss of function, complained of abdominal pain (this list is not exhaustive but covers the main points).

    I did not contact the vehicle. I stopped quickly to avoid it and went over my bars onto the road, arms bent in front of me (which took most of the impact) and then rolled over. No head or neck damage and no loss of fuction. I've had worse falls skiing and riding my MTB and carried on playing for the day!

    With regard to emotional stress I may have sustained. Frankly I am subjected to more death and injury in a normal work day so I think I am well placed to judge how stressed I am but of course I may be in denial so let's suppose I went to the GP for a chat.

    GP: What can I do for you today MAC?

    MAC: I recently came off my bicycle while avoiding a car that turned suddenly in front of me. No serious physical injuries but I have been advised to seek professional medical advice in case I have been stressed by the experience.

    GP: Oh dear! Right then a few questions. First have you been having any distressing recollections of the incident, waking up at night or having trouble getting to sleep?

    MAC: No.

    GP: Right. Have you cycled again in traffic or are you having to avoid where the incident happened?

    MAC: I have cycled again and have been past the area a few times with no problem.

    GP: Good, good. Are you easily upset, panicked or startled by any brake lights, screeching tyres, squealing brakes, car horns or similar?

    MAC: No more than normal.

    GP: Do you want to speak to a counsellor?

    MAC: No.

    GP: Do you want a sick note?

    MAC: No.

    GP: Well MAC, I am happy to say you have no significant stress indicators. If you do have any issues in the future please feel free to speak to me again.

    MAC. Thanks Doc.

    As for the legal advice. The driver stopped, apologised, admitted fault and is paying for damages. If they had done none of these I would be more than happy to go down the legal route, report the matter to the police and would persue it doggedly.

    Making insurance claims with the intention of causing hassle and cost is not the purpose of insurance though. Some may do it. I don't. I do have a problem with that.

    Happy pedalling anyway.

  4. Where there is blame there is a claim......:-)

    1. Don't you of all people start trotting out that self serving nonsense.

  5. I'm with you on this one! I'm glad you're OK, and more so given the replacement light.
    Our whole world would be a far better place if people stop hunting for a slightly uneven paving stone to trip over (and then sue!) and I think you are to be commended for NOT taking the "blame -> claim" advice.

    As for Pete's suggestion that nobody can judge for themselves how much stress they're suffering from, all I can say is you must be joking! In fact, I'd go as far as to say that nobody but ourselves are better placed to judge how much stress we may be suffering from.

  6. Pete.

    Not sure if you are winding me up...

    Nooo surely not ;>D

    Glad you bounced Daz.

    1. Ian

      Don't tell anyone but I think Pete might just be a wind up merchant which is almost a troll in internet terms!