Cycling London

Side swiped

Last Thursday I was riding to work from Peckham to Camden. Nothing particularly unusual about the journey apart from a few people not looking where they were going. I kept a decent pace on the fixed and enjoyed the ride. As I made my way up to Mornington Crescent and heading up to Camden High Street I noticed a grey object in the right side of my peripheral vision. That object kept getting closer and knocked me up into the air and onto my side. I then slide along the tarmac for a bit and got up, which is when I realised that the grey object was a van. With adrenaline pumping through me I got up and screamed at the guy. I thought he’d done it deliberately and banged his bonnet. Some guy grabbed me, calmed me down and moved me off the road. I was furious, full of adrenaline and pretty shaken up by it. The driver seemed pretty shocked too as he didn’t get out of his van for quite some time. I had to ask him to get out and even prompt him to say sorry – I put this down to shock though not his lack of consideration.

I’ve been riding in London since 2005 and rode here before in 2001 for a while. I consider myself reasonably experienced and am always careful of undertaking vehicles at junctions and always look into their left mirror at them to see if they’re about to make a turn without indicating. I also watch the front wheel which gives a slightly later indication of their turn and allows me to stop or take evasive action if needed. But what was so annoying about this is that I was in front of the traffic, I wasn’t undertaking, I had the front position on the road so he must have come around me and across my path. I can only assume that he just wasn’t looking at all, perhaps I was in his blind spot at the front on his left column on the windscreen. Maybe he was looking at his mirror behind but I was in front? Who knows.

So I checked my bike at scene, both wheels were fine but it wasn’t until I rode off that I realised the force of the impact had bent the drive side crank arm. As I thought there wasn’t anything wrong I didn’t get his number which is my own stupid fault. My wrist was a bit sore and a nice bruise and road rash has developed on my hip but I count myself lucky that it wasn’t a faster collision or a bigger vehicle.

It’s the second time I’ve been knocked off in London, the first was a car pulling out of a side street and I went straight over the bonnet. This has shaken me up much much more due to the way it came from the side without me seeing anything or having any inclination that something was about to go wrong. Best not to dwell on it too much and get back on the bike I think.