What is the worst thing that you can say to a cyclist?

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.”

From that moment on you are destined for a torrent of abuse. Say that you forgot to look. Say that you have only just started driving. Say that you are partially sighted and shouldn’t really be in a car. But don’t say that you did see the rider. What are your eyes for? Sussex University have conducted research for Sussex Police and proved that the human brain only sees what it wants to see. Does that me that drivers don’t want to look for cyclists?

Today, as I approached Lancing College, I watched as a couple of cars pulled out. No problem. The third car a Mercedes 4matic stopped to see if it was clear. There was a pause when the driver checked for low flying aircraft, farm vehicles possibly even wildebeest . By now I was close to the junction, in fact in the perfect position to be seen (hit) if the car pulled out.

You guessed it. The car pulled out. As I was looking ahead and being cautious (something cyclist HAVE TO DO) I could swerve away into the curb and had enough time to shout. The driver lowered the window to offer a drivers favourite excuse. “I didn’t see you”. I flipped. Lost my rag. Was a naughty boy. Sorry lady but you just can say that. You didn’t bother to look for a cyclist despite the fire power of an Exposure Strada your mind is switched off to vulnerable road users. Your 4matic makes you feel too safe.

What would your reaction be if I had hit the car and offered the excuse that I did see it or hit one of your privileged children and merely used the same excuse?

It is time that we introduce the same rules as many of the countries in Europe where drivers are always deemed responsible if they hit a cyclist whatever the circumstances.

Taking it easy on our local hill.


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