Rather a dramatic headline maybe, but I can honestly say that the day I was hit by a car left me feeling slightly euphoric. It also changed the way I approached cycling.
I don’t like driving and haven’t got a car so my bike is my lifeline for getting around the city. I’m a confident cyclist and, admittedly, had been rather lax with my safety in the past. I never used to wear a helmet, the lights on my bike were pitifully weak, and I let my break pads wear down to a slither!
Anyway, it was midday on New Year’s Day and I was cycling home from yoga. I passed a junction and moments later was unceremoniously knocked off my bike by a car pulling out who had simply not seen me. It all happened in bit of a haze – I couldn’t believe that I’d been hit. I also couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been hurt. My bike basket was a write-off but miraculously, I came out of it with just a few bruises to my ankle. When the car stopped and the driver got out and I stood up, I don’t know who was more in shock, him or me.
Despite this little hiccup, cycling is incredibly important to me. I love the freedom of being outdoors on my bike, knowing that I am getting some daily exercise and beating the traffic jams. It’s very satisfying to scoot along the cycle route next to Bourges Boulevard and pass the sometimes motionless traffic. Now the weather has become warmer, it’s nice just to go out on the bike and get some fresh air.
The upshot of it all is I am now wearing my helmet and have ramped up the lights when I cycle at night, and I would recommend that all other cyclists take a look at their safety to see what they too can improve. So, if you see someone on a bike, carrying a yoga mat and lit up like a Christmas tree, then give them a wide berth as you overtake. You might even want to smile and wave at them – you never know, they may just smile back!
Kari-Ann is PECT’s Fundraising Manager, and she has written on the topic of cycling to tie in with this year’s Peterborough Green Festival, which will be held on 23-31 May 2015 and is based upon the theme of sustainable transport.