Understanding why we can’t always blame the motorist

It’s tempting, as cyclists, to automatically apportion the blame for any road accidents to the motorist. However both cyclists and motorists are just people, and sometimes people act carelessly, stupidly, and recklessly on our roads.

Just this morning I witnessed a near-miss between a cyclist and a white van driver on Terenure Road East on the way into Rathgar village, and I’d have to say that in this case, the cyclist would have been entirely to blame if a crash had occurred.

The cyclist was going along at about 20 kph in the marked cycle lane, and the white van was ahead of him. The van was indicating to turn left down Brighton Road (shown in the photo) and was slowing down to make the turn.  But instead of the cyclist easing off to allow the van to make the turn safely, he carried on at full speed – and also took both hands off the handlebars, took his phone out from his trouser pocket, and started fiddling with it (presumably to change the music, as he was also wearing earphones) – completely unaware of the danger he was in.

Thankfully, the driver of the van had checked his left mirror, has seen the cyclist, and stopped before making his turn. If he hadn’t, however, the guy on the bike would have had no chance. He would never have got his hands back onto the handlebars in time to brake or steer out of harm’s way.

Richard Bloomfield

Richard is the founder of Dublin Bike Blog. He commutes to work every day by bike, come rain or shine, on his Dutch city bike. You can read more from Richard on his blog richardbloomfield.ie.

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