A cyclist in London ran into me this morning – on a pedestrian crossing when I had right of way.
We are both unhurt, but things could have been very much worse.
BC and I were on our way to a meeting in central London. As we crossed Waterloo Bridge and headed towards Leicester Square we commented on the way cyclists were weaving in and out of traffic. Keeping them safely in sight must be almost impossible for bus or lorry drivers.
And then it happened. The Green Man lit up for us, we looked to check all was clear . . . two women cyclists sped across the junction in front of us, ignoring the red light. We checked again and stepped on to the road. A third cyclist, a muscular young man, suddenly shot into view from the right with no intention of stopping. He clearly did not reckon on me reacting in any way, but I did. My startle response was enough to interrupt his precision path and he slammed on his brakes.
By my reckoning he was about to dislocate my right knee and break my leg, but he slid towards me and stopped with his wheel against my white trouser leg.
“I do apologise . . I do apologise . . “
“The light was RED for you! You should have stopped!”
“I know, I thought you would have seen me”
“What ! ! !”
“I do apologise . . I do apologise”
The Green Man flashed – time to move from the centre of the road. Our brief interaction was over. He sped off along the road and I stepped on to the pavement – charged with enough adrenaline rushing through me to fire up a football team.
Last year the Department of Transport released figures showing a 19% increase in death or serious injury to cyclists, and a 7% rise in minor injuries. Cyclists blame drivers and drivers blame cyclists.
From what I saw and experienced today, cyclists in London put themselves and others at risk.