Earlier this week Chris Froome, the three-time winner of the Tour de France posted to Twitter an image of his bicycle after he had been run off the road by a motorist in France. The reaction, for the most part, was outrage that a motorist could become so furious and frustrated at a cyclist, a professional cyclist no less, that they would deliberately knock them off their bicycle. This, unfortunately, is not as uncommon as some may think.
This week alone Cycle Law Scotland has had two new cases from injured cyclists who were deliberately hit by car drivers. The drivers appear to have had no regard for the safety or well-being of the cyclists involved. Arguably, such drivers do not even regard cyclists as human beings in their moment of anger and frustration.
When explaining to people what we do at Cycle Law, we are often met with the reaction; "but what about all those cyclists that run red lights or do not wear helmets? Cyclists are just a nuisance on the road." Therefore, the general public reaction when a professional cyclist was run off the road was rightly one of condemnation. Most of those who commented were outraged and sympathetic to Froome’s plight.
Why then should it be any different for those of us who cycle for pleasure or as a means to commute?
Of course, there are cyclists out there who do not obey the rules of the road. Similarly, there are motorists out there who seem to show utter disregard for the Highway Code. With that being said, the majority of cyclists are simply going about their daily business and cycle in accordance with the law.
So what is it with certain drivers that make them deliberately drive their 1500kg vehicle at another human? I wish we knew the answer to this! When sharing road space, frustrations can arise but, to even consider inflicting harm on a fellow human being just because they are proceeding slower than you are or taking up your space, is utterly abhorrent.
It seems we need to remind each other that cyclists too are human and should be shown the same respect on the road as any other road user, whether that be a horse rider, motorcyclist or car driver. It can sometimes be too easy to forget that we are all just trying to get safely from A to B!