I described this on Twitter the other day, but I’ll expand on it here.
I was heading out in the car on Saturday afternoon.
Got in, beeped, looked behind me, slowly backed-out of my driveway.
BANG! A cyclist riding along the footpath with his dog (roughly at running pace) collided with my car.
I stopped, moved my car back into the driveway, and asked if he was okay. Thankfully he was. And his dog.
They carried on down the street, at the same speed.
Cyclists on footpaths
Cycling forms a vital part of the transport network, helping people travel longer distances than might be practical by walking, but without having to drive a vehicle.
Sometimes there are good reasons for cyclists to avoid riding on the road. Riding on some roads can be perilous due to driver behaviour.
Probably not on my street though. It’s fairly quiet. But what would you do if taking the dog out for a run?
(The bloke I encountered was an adult.)
The problem isn’t so much the bicycle itself, as the speed compared to other footpath users.
Just as cyclists come of worse in on-road collisions with motor vehicles, pedestrians come of worse in footpath collisions with cyclists.
For a bike going at anything much above walking speed, there’s a real danger of a collision with a vehicle or a person, especially given limited visibility to/from driveways and garden paths — in fact years ago one of my sons was hit by a cyclist while coming out of a front garden gate.
And yet some cyclists will persist in riding at speed along footpaths. Really not a good idea.
What could I have done?
My fence isn’t high, but the speed he was going, I’d have little chance of spotting him even if driving out forwards.
And he obviously didn’t spot me, and either didn’t hear the beep, or didn’t realise where it came from, or couldn’t stop in time.
There is one thing I could do: my driveway is short enough that I could have a quick look up and down the footpath before I get in the car. It might help.