Bikes are brilliant, drivers are shite

Yesterday afternoon I set off to ride into town. On Burton Road I sat in the filter lane, waiting to turn right onto Yew Tree Lane. There was a car coming the other way and I reckoned the gap wasn’t wide enough to make it across in time. The driver pulling out of Yew Tree, on the other hand, thought they had loads of time to turn right. Without bothering to look at what was in front of them.

The car hit the pannier rack on the back of the bike, damaging the rack and mudguard enough that they needed replacing. I managed to keep from falling over, though something did whack my inner right thigh hard enough to give me a big oblong bruise. As it becomes more distinct I may be able to work out what I bashed against.

I slapped the side of the car and rather loudly berated the driver then pulled my bike out from in front of it so we could clear the junction and they could apologise and arrange to pay for any damage. Except they didn’t stop. Though it appeared they were going to pull in at first, they decided not to and just turned down the next junction and drove off. Luckily the driver behind them had taken their licence plate, so I’ve reported them to the Police. Hopefully they’ll get a fine and points for dangerous driving and/or leaving the scene of an accident, but I’m not optimistic.

Having written about my incident I would like to point out that it’s only the second time in 21 years of cycling around Manchester (and one or two other cities) that I’ve been hit by a car. I did once ride into the back of a car because I let myself get distracted by the driver who should have been behind me but was actually beside me and trying to be on top of me, but that’s something else. I’ve fallen off a few times as well, often for comedy reasons. (Ride over an empty drinks can and the ends curve in and lock around your front wheel. This can then rotates with the wheel until it hooks under your mudguard, locking the wheel and throwing you over the handlebars.) But, really, my riding career has been safe and enjoyable overall.

I’ve spent thousands of hours, and covered thousands of miles, on my bikes. I’ve saved thousands of pounds in bus fare and visited parts of the city that I wouldn’t have got to otherwise. I’ve commuted and ridden for pleasure, transported stuff and gone shopping. And, until last year when I went soft and became rain averse, bikes have provided exercise which has kept me slimmer than anyone who eats and drinks as well as I do deserves to be.

Bikes are brilliant. If only we could get those idiot drivers off our roads.


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