Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A Close Shave

I love my commute to my 'other' place of work.

It mostly consists of quiet roads and the Trans Pennine Trail.

I have written about small parts of my route which are annoyances, but not insurmountable.

But a recent incident has troubled me and kept me off my bike longer than it should.  I am hoping that, as it often the case, a blog post on the subject, can be a cathartic process and hopefully clear my mind and get me back out on two wheels.

My route, once I venture across the Mersey, gets to this point. Just before here is a large rubbish dump and the only traffic that uses this bridge seems to be bin lorries.

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Crossing the bridge on the RHS, Is a large brick yard.  Lorries often queue here, as I presume space inside is limited and it would be dangerous for so many HGV's to operate in such a small space.

Coming back towards the roundabout on my return journey, there were (I think) two lorries parked outside, waiting to go in.

I suppose, with hindsight, I should have stopped and carried on along the pavement. There are no pedestrians around here really.  I don't think I have ever seen one.  But hindsight is a wonderfully exact science.  I continued, careful to give myself room and ensuring there was no oncoming traffic.  

Then I am not too sure what happened.  I can only presume, either a lorry had come over the bridge that I hadn't spotted early on. Or that a lorry turned right out of the brickyard. 

But I found myself on the hatching with a lorry on either side of me.

I am sure neither driver knew I was there.

Now I am not suggesting the usual "get out of jail" card motorists play.  The lorry certainly did not come from out of nowhere. 

But on the right-hand side of a stationary HGV overtaking, it is perfectly possible that I did not see another lorry turning right from the brick yard.

Almost all cyclists will have either an accident or at least a close shave at some point.  With the recent spate of cyclists going under lorries etched into my mind, this close shave has really shaken me.

Now how to get back on the metaphorical horse?


  1. Sounds a scary moment, but one that has hit home hard, so it's unlikely to happen to you again you would hope. Have the confidence to get back on the bike there and I'm sure you'll feel fine & have that extra bit of experience behind you. I take my one and only 'hmmm I shouldnt have done that' moments with a lorry to have greatly educated me and where your scenario does not sound like it was how you were riding, those experiences make us all the better at cycling safely x

    1. Thanks Georgie. I think part of the problem is that tiny section is so busy with lorries, I will always be in danger there. Thats the sad truth. But I realise I have to put it into perspective and it is only a couple of hundred yards of road thats really perilous

    2. Given the low number of pedestrians, and the level of risk on the road, it's perhaps one of the very few places where legalising pavement cycling with a shared use footway is not an un-satisfactory (to both pedestrians and cyclists) waste of everyone's money.

  2. I had a similar 'eek' moment yesterd when I was a bit too bold nipping out of a junction and then insufficiently assertive to take the lane and ended up with a timber lorry squeezing past me in a really blustery crosswind. I actually pulled over and waited for all the traffic to pass; I just couldn't guarantee my own safety in those circumstances. As to how to get back on the horse - well, we do, don't we, but sometimes your nerve cracks and no shame in that. If it's only a couple of hundred yards and there aren't many pedestrians about, I think there's no shame in opting for the pavement at that point. Walk your bike if it bothers you

  3. Don't let this incident put you off Emma. I'd recommend getting back on the bike as soon as you can start back on quiet roads, industrial estates while you build your confidence back up, gradually moving to busier roads.

  4. Try not to let this incident effect who you are. You learnt an important lesson, well reinforced what you already knew. This bit of road is more dangerous than other bits of road, and I think get back on your bike ASAP, but use your experience to make the next better,

    If the danger really can't be avoided then it may be time to find a different route (nah!) ;)

    Good luck, and happy pedalling!

  5. Yes, no doubt getting back on your bike is the way to and sooner the better. The problem is that there are a small section of drivers who live to intimidate and bully, as there are cyclists, but if you need to ride for pleasure or the commute, then you do need to ride http://yourbestbikelocks.com/category/bikes-top-brands-deals-on-bicycles/