You see it more and more on the news and on Twitter these days; it’s becoming quite a frequent thing that cyclists are unfortunately getting in incidents with cars and coming off second best — that goes from professional riders right down to amateur and club level.
When it happens to a close friend and team-mate, so close to where you live on your training roads, it hits home that no one is safe any time. It makes it all a bit more real.
As professional cyclists we go out riding more than other people — doing 30-hour training weeks on the road in some ways there’s a higher percentage risk that something could happen to us just because we’re out on the bikes more.
Sometimes, unfortunately, you can be a target, or a driver could make a mistake — whether you’re the best rider in the world or just riding to work it can happen to you.
It’s always in the back of your mind.
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It’s not something new though and I think if you look through the years there have always been fatalities and casualties — that is the risk that you take wherever in the world that you ride. You just have to try and limit that risk by riding on quiet roads and riding in a safe manner.
I grew up as a kid riding in South Wales; you have small little lanes and some of them verge on farmers’ paths.
They’re the type of roads I’ve always stuck to. Even now as a professional bike rider I try and stay off the main roads; it’s just something you can do to protect yourself and minimise that risk from cars.
If you’re on a main road you get maybe 100 cars pass you in 10 minutes, but if you’re on a small country road potentially you have one car passing you in the same time.
I think a lot of the time when there’s an issue it’s because you get these drivers who just don’t like cyclists and there’s nothing you can do about that, but at the same time you can put yourself in the best place possible to avoid it.
We do have to share the roads, cyclists can sometimes complain about car drivers not giving us respect but it’s definitely a two-way thing.