'Nothing has changed': Pros amongst cyclists warning of post-lockdown road safety
After cyclists have enjoyed quieter roads during coronavirus lockdown, concerning road safety incidents are returning
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- Sign up to our newsletter Newsletter
While cyclists have found some relief from the coronavirus pandemic on the quieter roads caused by the lockdown, the easing of restrictions has re-ignited road safety concerns as motorists return.
With people being encouraged to take up cycling as a mode of transport to reduce the strain on public transport, which will be limited due to social distancing measures, the increased volume of bikes has inevitably seen a rise in thefts, and now also an increase in incidents with motor vehicles.
One cyclist shared shocking images of his injuries after being kicked off his bike (opens in new tab) at 26mph, while a 63-year-old cyclist suffered multiple facial injuries (opens in new tab) after objects were thrown at him from a moving vehicle.
Last week, a cycling club secretary was also left with a broken back after a crash in which he believes he was deliberately hit by a driver.
The resumption of road safety concerns appears to not just be a UK phenomenon, with Cofidis' Elia Viviani saying nothing has changed on Italian roads.
>>> Cycling world hits back after columnist says it's ‘tempting’ to injure cyclists with wire traps
"If we hoped that motorists had changed in terms of [their] respect for us...it is a lost cause," Elia Viviani told Gazzetta dello Sport (opens in new tab). "On the road, everything is as before the lockdown and the danger has not diminished. Nothing has changed."
American track cyclist Mandy Marquardt also revealed she had been passed too closely and beeped at by multiple vehicles in Pennsylvania, calling the incident "terrifying" and "harassment", pointing out both motorists had broken state law with their actions.
"I'm here, riding on the side of the road, hugging the shoulder, there are two cars behind me, beeping, passing me 'this' close, why? For what? There's no car coming in the opposite direction, I'm not in the middle of the road, I also want to get home and see my family, I'm sure they have somewhere important to be," Marquardt said in a video (opens in new tab).
"Especially in these times, why? I'm just trying to be outside, enjoy the day, do what I love, do my job. There have been too many people who have lost their lives in this sport because of people being so inconsiderate...there have been so many people affected by it and I just don't understand it, why can't we be out here doing what we love too? It just takes a few seconds, we are humans, not objects."
Broadcaster and writer Ned Boulting revealed one motorist had driven their car at him over the weekend, writing on Twitter (opens in new tab): "Intriguing new form of aggression from a person behind the wheel of a car today. They had parked up for a fag illegally blocking the entire pavement. I asked them politely if they might move, especially as a person behind me was in a wheelchair.
"They ignored me and when I passed again five minutes later, forced to walk in the road, because they were still on the pavement, they started the car and drove it at me."
Former Olympian and now Greater Manchester's cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman last week urged the UK Government to introduce presumed liability.
This legislation, which is present in all but five European countries already, considers the least vulnerable road user to be liable in the event of a traffic collision unless they can establish the other party was at fault.
The idea is that it encourages mutual respect between road users and creates a hierarchy in civil cases. Boardman hopes this law change will encourage more people to feel safe cycling on roads.
"Nearly all other countries have done this, to put a duty of care in their legislation for everyone on the roads to look after a more vulnerable road user," Boardman told the Telegraph.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Watch: Canyon unveils a very Miami Canyon Aeroad CFR, custom-made for the Blazers
Bicycle manufacturer, Canyon Bicycles, today unveiled a Miami Blazers’ custom Canyon Aeroad CFR, meant to serve as a visual representation of Miami’s vibrant culture
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
'The darkest day in British cycling' - British riders mourn loss of AT85 Pro Cycling
Matt Bostock says Tim Elverson run squad ‘gave him confidence’ to take next step in his career, Alex Richardson says British Scene has lost ‘a platform’ for young riders to develop
By Tom Thewlis • Published