Cycling Scared

Cycling scared

Dear motorist,

I have a few questions for you and a few hard truths.

Why do you hate me (and my friends) so much? I am someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, a cousin and an aunty but I am so scared that I will never be someone’s wife or mother because every time I ride my bike I am scared. I am scared because you seem to have absolutely no respect for me or my life. I am scared because you come dangerously close to me when there is no need to. I am scared because you hurl abuse at me from the comfort of your car and throw objects at me like I am target practice. But most of all I am scared that you do not see me as a person but an annoyance, a thorn in your side that is slowing you down and hindering you from getting to you destination. An annoyance that must be dealt with in the most extreme of ways.

Why do you choose to use your car as a weapon against me and my friends? I know that we are not perfect and there are a number of cyclists that disregard the law but it is really up to you to hand out vigilante justice? When you see a motorist break the law do you purposely drive into them or follow dangerously close and run them off the road? I doubt it, so why have this attitude towards a much more vulnerable road user? Leave it to the police to police the roads and fine those that break the law.

I have been hit by you on 3 separate occasions. All 3 times were not my fault. The most recent being the worst. You failed to give way while turning into a side street and hit me while doing 45km/h and I was doing 35km/h. Your bumper shattered my right leg and the impact of the road dislocated my left shoulder, broke my left wrist and left arm. My bike was a mangled mess, which I had become tangled with. I did not lose consciousness and felt everything. I was in surgery for over 6 hours which required the surgeon to cut away parts of my pectoral and bicep muscles to inset screws and a plate that runs the entire length of my arm. My leg was reconstructed with artificial bone graphs and yet more screws and plates and a plate was inserted into my wrist. I was in hospital for 2 weeks, unable to bend my leg, unable to walk or perform simple tasks on my own. I had to defer university. I am covered in scars from surgery and gravel rash from the road. I was bound to a wheelchair for 3 months, unable to put weight through my healing shattered leg. I needed further surgery to remove the plate from my leg as it was causing a lot of pain. I had to endure countless hours of painful physiotherapy. I had to learn how to walk again.

4 years later and I am still in pain every day. Pain that does not get better with treatment or pain relief, pain that stops me from doing things I enjoy, pain that will most likely lead to more surgery. I lost 3 months of my life to a wheelchair, you lost your license for 6 months. I pay for your mistake, your lack of judgment, your inattentiveness every day, you paid a $1000 fine.

So I ask you this, would you purposely run someone over knowing that you will forever change the course of their life and the lives of those around them? Would you knowingly cause grievous bodily harm to a complete stranger simply because of their chosen sport or mode of transport? A mode of transport that eases traffic congestion, transport that does not pollute, transport that eases the burden on the health system… a mode of transport that is doing you a few favours.. So again I ask, why do you hate us so much?

 

Header image: source