Writing about cycling dangers: where next?

About a year ago I was trolled by nearly 400, er, trollers, because I wrote a social media post saying that the death of a lady cyclist – mother, and citizen – due to a collision with a van in one of the UK’s very crowded town centres – might have been avoided had there been better (and separated) facilities for motor-powered vehicles and cycles in that town.

Writing about cycling dangers: where next?

“Actually motorists give cyclists a wider berth if they aren’t wearing helmets, anyway” says Rosie. Would you take that chance? And with your small child in a flimsy cycle trailer?

These cyclist trolls infested every element of my social media presence, my Amazon author page, my Google status and more to the point threatened me in my home (at the time I lived alone) and followed me around in every imaginable online place.

They were furiously writing to all and sundry about what an awful woman I must be to say that cyclists should watch out for motorised traffic and ride defensively, rather than blithely hit the roads and expect any other road users to shape up and ship out of the way. Especially in the southern part of the UK where totally inadequate roads are mostly choked with heavy traffic and grumpy drivers, the self-righteous superiority attitude of many cyclists is, in my view, an accident waiting to happen.

Here we go again … are small children safe on crowded roads in these flimsy cycle trailers?

As mentioned above, my troll battering happened just a year ago, but only a day or so ago I received the following comment on an article I wrote here a few years ago, essentially saying that the equipment many parents/caregivers use as trailers behind their own bikes, in which kids can ride, are potentially dangerous.

And that’s especially when used on roads which are otherwise busy with cars, vans, trucks … for example, during the “school run” which coincides in many locations with the workers’ rush hour.

Here’s what “Rosie” wrote…just recently in a comment here on HTWB

“So they should drive, instead, and run someone else’s children over? And be partly responsible for the 40,000 people per year who die prematurely from air pollution? Which their children are not immune to either. Or just stay at home, which has its own risks.”

“Actually motorists give cyclists a wider berth if they aren’t wearing helmets, anyway.There were 8 child cyclists killed in 2016, and I’d bet most if not all were children on their own bikes, not those on/attached to a parent’s bike.”

And here is what I replied to “Rosie” …

Thank you for your comment, Rosie.

I doubt that people who drive their children to school and other activities are likely to “run someone else’s children over.”

Air pollution from cars is a fact of life until we all move on to hybrids or better still, all electric vehicles. (How some of that electricity is generated to recharge the EVs, however, is not something much loved by air pollution critics, but never mind.)

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to take the chance that motorists might give me and my child a wider berth just because we aren’t wearing helmets. Would you? Really?

And much as your stats about dead child cyclists are true I’m sure, once again…but?

Writing about cycling dangers: where next?

Would you really want to take chances?

Or would you – perhaps because of course one must stand up for the politically correct view of these things even if they totally go against our harsh realities – want to go out there on your bike with your toddler in a flimsy little trailer on the back, with no helmet, in heavy traffic, and defy human nature because cyclists are superior and so must reign supreme? In the rush hour? The school run times?

I know you must feel that car drivers should be educated to respect cycle-based transport and of course you’re right.

But there are some who don’t.

Do you take the offensive stance and challenge them to respect your (rightful) views by going out there and daring them to drive inappropriately, with your child on a little trailer totally unprotected behind your two-wheeled bike?

Or do you take the stance of – perhaps – helping to educate drivers to be more mindful of both caring for cyclists AND pollution, but in the meantime protecting your child from the potential stupidity and carelessness of human nature?

I’d say this is a question to ponder.

What does everyone else think?

And that’s my question here. What do YOU think should be written about cycle safety for kids? And adults?

Please share your views here and now.

FYI, here follows my original article from which this discussion stemmed…


Baby bike passengers: a cycle of disaster?


With thanks for the Creative Commons image to Richard Mason / Cyclelicious.