In a depressingly familiar pattern we find the aftermath of a conflict between car and bike, down where Prince Street joins Broad Quay, yesterday afternoon. Thankfully the cyclist appeared to suffer only slight injuries although his bicycle was mangled. The car involved is the white Citroen Xantia N881 WAN between the red and blue tee-shirts. Most of those standing around appear to be witnesses who were good enough to give statements to the police, who turned up promptly, shortly after the paramedic.
I didn't witness the actual incident and I'm not going to speculate about what might have happened beyond what is evidenced by these pictures. We see for example scrape marks on the road surface and some debris (where the bicycle was lying before being moved to the side), suggesting that the bicycle might have been pushed along under the front of the car, consistent with the observed bike and car damage. The police took details from witnesses and the parties involved (the cyclist in the dark tee-shirt and grey trousers; driver in red tee-shirt and blue baseball cap) and will, we must hope, take any appropriate action.
The scene was particularly poignant for me since I had been the victim of a road rage attack just two days earlier at Redland Grove when a motorist harassed me very aggressively, horn blaring just behind me and finally accelerating past at high speed, engine roaring, black smoke belching out, just inches away. I could easily have ended up as the cyclist above or much worse. My crime incidentally was getting in HIS way, the one he and his fellow motorists pay for and on which we cyclists apparently have no right to be.
Needless to say incidents like these are extremely damaging to the prospects for popularising cycling. Individual cyclists often give up cycling as a result of being the victims of such conflict and of course all those who observe such incidents will be dissuaded from considering cycling. So what is to be done? Some argue that increasing cycling numbers will change attitudes and lead to a more tolerant attitude on the part of motorists. But, catch 22, how can we expect to increase cycling in the face of such violence? Suggestions welcome below....