As part of Cycle SOS’s new initiative to encourage road users to consider cyclists as real people, with real stories, we’re speaking to everyday cyclists to hear their own experiences of life on the road.
This week we spoke with Nigel Almond, an analyst and father of two, who was recently involved in a cycling accident.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I work as an analyst in commercial real estate based in the City of London, and am married with two children.
How long have you been cycling for?
I got back into cycling last year, and started cycling into London earlier this year. I normally commuted by bike once a week, mostly as a way to train for a charity bike ride.
How long is your commute?
It’s about thirty miles one way – I cycle first thing in the morning, then back in the evening after work.
And what were your general experiences of cycling and commuting?
Mostly positive. It’s a great way to stay fit, make new friends, enjoy the fresh air and, if possible, see more of the countryside. Sometimes I cycle at a slower pace so I can see a bit more. Also, combined with a change in diet, I lost weight over the course of a year cycling. Many see the roads in London as a no-go – but in many areas there are cycle or bus lanes providing protection.
It also made me more aware of passing cyclists while driving my car, and the safest way to do so.
What advice would you give to other cyclists?
Stay alert, especially in built up areas. Don’t wear headphones: for me it’s important to be alert to noise around you, and avoid distractions.
Can you tell us a little bit about your accident?
I was hit by a car as I cycled away from a set of lights at a busy junction. The driver left the scene, and I have been unable to trace her details. I had surgery to my shoulder following the accident, and was forced to delay my charity ride to Paris until next year.
How has this changed your experience of cycling?
I am not able to get back on my bike just yet. I think I will reconsider where and how I cycle. It will not stop me cycling, but I may train more on quieter roads, or use events as my training to minimise the risk of collision. I will be more alert, especially in busier traffic, and perhaps take fewer risks.
What do you wish other road users would consider about cyclists?
I wish other road users would look out and show more patience. I would love to see safer overtaking of cyclists. I’ve had a number of near miss passes in the past.
I think motorists should realise that waiting twenty seconds or even a minute to pass could prevent an injury, or even save a life. When you’ll probably end up waiting down the road at another set of lights, is it really worth endangering someone else’s life?
As cyclists, we need to be considerate to other road users. Pulling over or indicating to motorist to pass can be greeted with a thank you. It’s important to respect each other.
We’d like to thank Nigel for taking the time to be interviewed for Real Lives. Real Cyclists. If you would be interested in appearing, or have a story to share, please get in touch with us on our Facebook page, through Twitter or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org