Shoulder barging a panel van

I had a nice bike ride this lunchtime, a quick undulating hour round Whitstable and Canterbury on a glorious summer day is always going to be nice, even accounting for a crash with a panel van.

So, I’m coming down a very big hill from Whitstable into Canterbury. Those who know it won’t be surprised that I was going fast, very fast. There’s a junction at the bottom, on the left joining the main road that I’m zipping down. There’s a car on the opposite side waiting to turn right into the junction and a panel van sat at the junction waiting to turn right across me and up the hill I’m coming down.

Well, you know the scenario, it’s one we cyclists encounter daily. The car in front of me carries on down the hill, the car waiting to turn right flashes the panel van and the panel van without looking assumes the road is clear and pulls out. I brake hard, the van driver sees me and stops (why do they always just stop!), I fishtail, brace for impact and shoulder barge the van. Ouch!

But you know what, it happens, people make mistakes. Who was at fault? Me for cycling too fast at a junction I know can be a problem? The car driver for flashing the van? The van for pulling out without looking? Everyone probably.

But what did surprise me was that the van driver then made to drive off without checking whether my bike or I were okay, mistakes happen but driving away from the scene of an accident is no mistake. Anyway, after some authoritative bellowing from me she did stop and I’m pleased to say that my bike and I are fine, just a slightly sore shoulder and a bent brake hood.

So, drivers, I’m a reasonable guy, we all make mistakes but please, if you hit a cyclist at least have the decency to stop and check we’re okay.

Oh, and I now know what the last thing to go through my mind will be, thank goodness I wore my Tagnix ID.

– Gary


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