Three weeks in London and a cardriver hits me

You read it correctly. I am here now for three weeks and yesterday afternoon, in plain daylight, on the cyclepath, a car hit me from behind. Welcome to London, hey?

24 hours after it happened, I don’t know whether I am more angry about the fact I almost lost my life or more angry at the fact the roads are so crap it happens on a daily base.

I cannot really discuss HOW the accident happened, because of legal reasons etc. But I can tell you about the aftermath. Metropolitan Police came to the scene, took me into their car and the first thing their colleague over the radio asked was “was she wearing a helmet or had headphones in”? A car driver drove into a 2 meter long 88cm big bright red cargobike with a cyclist on it totally dressed in red, and they asked me about a helmet. Nice going. Now, to be honest, if my bottom would have worn a helmet,….I am now quite black and blue down there and even sitting down is an effort. The force the car hit me with, threw me straight off my bike and I landed on my bahookie in front of incoming traffic. 

Honestly, it is an experience I do not wish to repeat. Metropolitan Police on the other hand were friendly even after asking me about the helmet. Credit given where credit due. They could do with more training. Definitely something they should get into. Victim blaming is a big NO.

While were are on the subject of victim blaming. The Evening Standard contacted me to tell my story. I declined: reasons given below… 

 
So, what happened today? I went to the GP to check out my back. As I had some pretty bad swelling. And I spent the day bothering Haringey council and local MP David Lammy. I wasn’t able to speak directly to Mr. Lammy but to one of his office aides. She is going to draft a letter both to TFL and the council. But I wonder what actual good it will do. Haringey council might perhaps react when easter falls on a Monday when fish fly and hell freezes over. In other words, cyclists and pedestrians are screwed.

I have also asked Haringey council today why it takes the council over a year to put in a zebra crossing at Henry’s school? Their reaction was infuriating. First I had to tweet, then call them, then the person on the phone told me to email. WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR OUR CHILDREN TO BE SAFE? RUN AROUND IN FRIGGING CIRCLES?

Everybody keeps blabbing on about how “we need to change people’s mentality”, but the councils don’t set the example. Haringey council is by far one of the worse offenders. You can only change mentality when you get to people at a young age. I am currently telling my son, aged five, it is better to take public transport to school, or even a car, because the streets aren’t safe. He could grow  with the idea in his head he NEEDS the car to get around. He NEEDS the bus to get somewhere.  We inplant the seeds in their tiny heads and the consequences follow 20 years later. We need to act now so the young generation grows up wanting and needing a different world and infrastructure than we have now.

In any case. I am bike-less and soulless at the moment. My Babboe Bakfiets saved my life, but it died in the process. My noble steed sacrificed itself for me. I am eternally greatful. I am alive thanks to some pretty decent engineering. Lets pray we can get it rising like a phoenix soon…
To be continued

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7 thoughts on “Three weeks in London and a cardriver hits me

  1. Surely victim blaming would be a case of saying ‘the cyclist was to blame’

    Rather than simply following legal restrictions that stop reporters apportioning blame when they don’t actually know the full facts

    Rather like how you cite legal reasons for not saying what happened

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  2. First of all it goes without saying that I’m so pleased you are ok. It angers me that one of the questions on the police form is to do with wearing a helmet the answer of which will then be brought up in any court action, when it’s not a legal requirement to wear one.

    I don’t live in London and although my only personal transport is a trike down here in Dorset and am a daily rider, I would be terrified to ride up there which of course I wouldn’t be if we have good infrastructure. I am furious on a daily basis at the fact that as bicyclists we have to ride with either heavy or fast traffic.

    Good for you on turning The Standard down and for your reply to them. It’s the media in this country that sets the pace and they are one of our biggest obstacles in getting safe cycling in this country.

    Was your cargo bike insured?

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    • I thought the bike was insured through work (home-work commute like it would be in Belgium), but it was not. I have to go through the driver’s insurance, which can take up to two years to get sorted. However, I hope a court sentence might speed things up. Yesterday I sorted bike insurance for £17.00/month. It covers basically everything, even personal injury if I get hit again. Which, according to many people, is bound to happen again. Not sure how many catlives I have left.

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  3. Pingback: I nearly died… | London Cargobike Mum

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