Dear fellow members
Happy New Year!
We had some nasty illnesses and injuries at various times in 2013. I hope that won’t be repeated this year and that anyone still not well will recover very very quickly
Sad that I had to cancel the New Year “brunch” ride – the weather didn’t look (from the safety of the house!) quite as severe as forecast – but not in the least at all inviting. Still one poor 1 January in a decade isn’t that bad.
But all was not lost. Yesterday morning it was bright and sunny – if still a bit windy. 10 of us – Angela, Anne, Fred, Jenny, Joyce, Leon, Mick, Roger, Suzanne and me – set out for Carats café from Palace Pier and were joined on the way by Richard. Some hardier participants sat outside – as on some of our New Years Day rides of yesteryear. Fred as ever took photos (see Flickr) and Joyce later collected £20 for the UNICEF appeal for Syrian children.
Thanks to Angela for organising the very successful Christmas lunch at the Café Rouge – again on a day of pretty awful weather – particularly down there at the Marina. There was a good attendance and a brief visit from Santa himself. But if he was giving out presents I didn’t get one. However, our quiz team did manage the narrowest of wins and as far as I’m aware we all got home without being blown away – something of an achievement in itself that day!
Can I have some volunteers for leading rides – particularly for the February ones? The italics indicate the feeling of desperation that I am starting to feel!
Subscriptions: New Year Resolution
Jim does not want to continue as treasurer – so please be thinking about whether you could take on the role. However, he is going to carry on until the AGM so please make a New Year resolution to send a cheque for £7 payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club to Jim Grozier at 92a Springfield Road, Brighton BN1 6DE this week. [You can also pay by bank transfer – details in the email newsletter]. For new members you can download a form from here.
This will be on Tuesday 4 February at 8 pm at 104 Bonchurch Road. I will be sending out the agenda a week or so before. Please let me have any items you would like included for discussion – with or without supporting papers – nominations, or reports not later than Saturday 25 January (Burns Night! easy to remember!)
Message from Fred. CTC is doing some easy rides to try get neglected bikes out of sheds. Check out the “shed rides” on this link shedbikerides.weebly.com.
I did ask for contributions to this discussion in the last newsletter. Here, first, is what Jenny has to say:
Re the recent spate of fatal collisions involving cyclists in London: I find it fascinating, and actually deeply depressing, that whenever this subject comes up people (including other cyclists) instantly start talking negatively about the behaviour of cyclists! Is that the best response we can make, when the problem is vehicles, in particular HGVs in the centre of a busy city where their mere presence is dangerous and inappropriate? The cyclists who were killed, almost without exception, were not riding up the inside of the lorries in a dangerous fashion – they were just cycling along or waiting at traffic lights when they were crushed by, usually left-turning, vehicles whose drivers were not paying enough attention.
There are measures that could be put in place tomorrow to make these HGVs safe to cycle near: technology in the form of proximity warning systems; simple bolt-ons such as mirrors, or bars to prevent a collision victim from being dragged under the side of the vehicle (cars are already protected in this way from under-running the back of lorries, so are people less important?); and restrictions on the times of day when HGVs (skip lorries in particular) can access the city centre. The amount of resistance to introducing cheap, easy measures like these is drowned out in the chorus of voices blaming cyclists for “running red lights” and “cycling on pavements” that arises every time to deflect the debate.
Do we realise that the blue “cycling superhighways” have been blamed directly for some of the collisions that have happened recently, such as the ones at the Bow roundabout, because they actually put the cyclist in the most dangerous place they can be – on the inside of traffic that wants to turn left? Painting a blue strip on the road just isn’t a good solution – it gives cyclists a false sense of security and ownership of that bit of road, when in fact they have no exclusivity or rights to it at all (as is obvious when you have to leave the “blue zone” to cycle round vehicles that have parked on it). We are traffic – we have rights and one of those is to be cycling safely on the road. Implying that we should keep to our separate blue “unsafety” zone gives ammunition to those drivers who like to shout “You should be on the cycle path,” as if we do not belong on the roads at all.
HGVs are a particular problem, of course, but as the following reports from John illustrate, by no means the only one. He has had two nasty encounters with cars recently. Thank goodness he wasn’t badly injured or worse. Here’s his account of the first one from the letter he’s sent to the Chief Constable of Sussex on 16 December:
Last Thursday afternoon I was struck by an overtaking car. I was dumped on the road badly shaken and bruised lying amongst the debris of the wing mirror which had hit me with such force it disintegrated on impact damaging me and the car.
She stopped admitted hitting me but couldn’t tell me why. She hadn’t been distracted by the radio or instruments. There was no explanation. If I were in a car maybe she would have seen me, I can’t imagine she would drive into the back of a car, but I was on a bike, why hadn’t she seen me? My running lights, high viz jacket and reflectors were not enough to save me.
She was upset and I was in a state of shock. Visibility was good, the road was straight, my lights were on, and many vehicles had overtaken me. It wasn’t dark. She lives locally and must know the road, where to slow down and take care, that sort of thing… Why hadn’t she seen me?
An ambulance arrived and checked me over. I’m on Warfarin for my health, they were concerned I might have hit my head. I didn’t in this case but who knows. I had a helmet on just in case. A bit closer and who knows she could have killed me!
John then explains that the police officer on the spot decided that no action should be taken and comments:-
I had taken care of my safety insofar as possible. She assaulted me, damaged me and left me in a state of stress. She hit me. She admitted doing so. She couldn’t say why. No witness is needed under such an admission. A decision to pursue the driver should not depend upon the severity of the incident. Striking someone from behind is a shocking thing and it is that inattention that needs to be addressed not the severity.
I’m sure we’d all agree. But that was not the last of John’s nasty December encounters. He sent this on Tuesday:
Hedge End outside of Southampton two days ago. Yep me again! Am I unlucky or what? I was struck from behind by a 4X4 having left a mini-roundabout. The excuse, you have guessed it, he didn’t see me! Not badly injured, bit like the other one, cuts and bruises. Bike suffered more. He admitted responsibility to the police and it now becomes an insurance claim. The police checked his record on the car computer. All legal as a driver and with no points means no further action to be taken. Hampshire police have the same attitude as Sussex. Not seriously injured so don’t penalise the driver. Strangely one of the two cops asked me what I would like to see happen. I suggested driver awareness training. It didn’t run as an idea. I got to thinking after the event shouldn’t a breath sample be taken? What about possible use of a mobile? Had this been motorist on motorist I think checks would have been made.
I’ve been reading the road justice articles and the horrendous injuries people have received. Mine are nothing in comparison. Do you know is data collected at a local level to see what is happening, patterns of behaviour by all involved? Shifting legal liability to the driver would impel the police to act and show up what is happening. I know the Lib Dems will propose this in their autumn conference.
I’m thinking of wiring up my Christmas lights to the bike and fitting a klaxon!
I’ll leave it at that for this issue – but I’m sure people will want to return to the issues John – and Jenny – raise throughout the coming year.
I’m attaching preliminary details for the 2014 Easter Meet. When we get more spcifics whether or not you’re planning to come you may find it interesting to compare what’s planned with the programme for the second Easter meet in 1896 at the end of this newsletter.