The month May has been a bit of sad month for everyone who loves to cycle or is involved in cycling. We have lost two of our “friends” . Both of them in their early 30s. Both of them left families and friends and both of them involved in a similar story. A very sad but more and more common story.
They were hit by a car/truck while riding their road bike on the road in Italy. Today both of them are looking down on us from above. I would like to dedicate this blog to both of them.
We have a guardian angel
Personally, I love being out on the bike and I do love to speed up and I do trust my skills. Who I don’t trust is everyone else on the road. If you share the passion of cycling with me, you certainly can tell at least one story of a near miss situation. A car, obviously in a hurry, passes you and you can “High 5” the mirror or even feel it. It is the moment where you realise, that your guardian angel took care of you.
The slow cyclist stresses the driver
Being a driver I am spending hours and hours in the car every day or week. My diary is full, my appointments are scheduled tight and like most of us, I do like to be on time. Calculating the unexpected into my schedule is a NO GO. I could possibly miss out on something. So I am rushing and it is safe to say that I am rushing almost all the time when in the car. Then out of nowhere a cyclist is in front of me it could be roadcylist, a triathlete or just the mum with a baby in her seat going for a chilled ride – it does not matter, they are causing me to be late and GOD how boring it is to drive slow. Correct me if I am wrong but as soon as we get into the situation our first thought is: I need to overtake and we analysing every possible opportunity with the goal of overtaking. It is the stress which lets us miscalculate the distance.
Perfect distance to overtake
What is the perfect distance to overtake? I am actually thinking of designing a jersey with the correct distance on the back as hardly any driver knows. 1,5m between the car and the cyclist is perfect. You can never be too far from the cyclist. Just passing by few millimetre is not enough. Why? Both need a Buffer. Especially being on the road bike it is crucial to understand that the road conditon is a danger. A speed bump, gravel, pothole or just a tiny wooden stick can cause a cyclist to fall. For a car those things are not relevant and behind the wheel in a car you don’t even notice them. BUT: A cyclist needs to ride around it. And now imagine you being the car driver and overtaking the rider exact at the moment where he/she needs pass those obstacles. If you give him/her only 5cm gap then… BANG. You don’t want to be driver and neither do I. Of course also not the cyclist.
The idiots on the bike have families
But the cyclist did not obey the rules! That is a statement which you hear very often. It might be even the truth. Yes the cyclist ran a red light or did turn without looking or any other situation which comes into your mind. That is not a behaviour I support but their lives are as valuable as ours and on the bike you are 99% the loser. Any losing means ending up in hospital with bad injuries or even worse. Those cyclist who do what they think might be idiots but they are idiots with friends and families. Moms, Dads, Grandparents, they might have little cute creatures running through their houses. At the end of the day its them whose life is fucked up and its your life which is going south. The feeling of being involved in a bad or even fatal cycling/car accident is not a feeling anyone wants to feel. Don’t be that person just because you felt the pressure and stress of arriving a bit late.
My wish: Stay safe and respect each other
My message is simple and goes out to everyone out on the road. Think twice and look ahead. If you get annoyed by any other person around you try to stay calm, obey the rules and rethink before making any rushed decision which could have an impact and many lives – including yours.
Julia, Nicky and all other cyclist who have lost their life on the road. May you all rest in peace and let you family recover from the lost as fast as possible – if possible.