It’s flashed across all the major media this week, especially in the UK. Olympic medalist and Tour de France winner Bradley “Wiggo” Wiggins was struck by a van. Then, not 15 hours later, in a separate incident, Olympic team trainer, Shane Sutton was involved in an accident with a automobile. Both men in separate incidents in different towns injured while biking. And these are the elite.
These kinds of accidents are rare, yet not ignored. Across the UK the cry for putting cycling first is being raised. From The Times, to the BBC, to The Metro, The Sun, and Road.cc the cry reverberates. A lead article in The Times reads:
“Some may ask when and how Wiggins and Sutton were cycling, and what they could have done to keep themselves safe. But these are the wrong questions. Cyclists are not uniquely responsible for their own safety. Our roads should not be battlegrounds of injury and blame.
“As you will know, The Times is campaigning for cities fit for cycling, and inherent in this is the idea that this country’s roads should suit the needs of those who travel on them.
“Thousands in Britain ride their bikes for fun and for exercise and thousand more will have been inspired to do so thanks to the efforts of Wiggins and Sutton. The fact that even they find themselves at risk only serves to highlight both the scale and the essential nature of the task at hand. We wish them both a suitably speedy recovery, which in their case should be very speedy indeed.”
And while we here too wish these inspiring cyclists the swiftest recovery, this kind of situation with bikes has become too familiar in the Boston area as well.
Safety Here and There: Take Home Lessons
If these guys are the elite athletes and this happened to them – what about me? I’m just a beginner in this bike commuting thing – what do I do?
This was more or less the conversation I had with a friend who’s new to bike commuting. These accidents are a reminder that this is a community effort. When we bike commute it’s important to follow the rules of the road, stop at red lights and stop signs, signal our turns and take safety precautions - such as wearing a helmet. Accidents happen – and can happen to any of us. That’s why courtesy, no matter in which way you happen to be using the road today – as a driver, cyclist, pedestrian – or a mix of all three (or more); counts more than we can say. Look around, remind others about safety. Make sure your bike is in good repair so that when you squeeze those brakes you do stop.