Care When Cycling

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We all know that cycling is an excellent way to keep fit, while at the same time reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. And cycling in our part of the world does not impose too much in the way of a mountainous terrain! It is a popular and relatively safe means of getting around. But there are always potential risks when we share road space with motor vehicles. So it helps to be reminded of the real and present dangers from time to time. Here's a sobering tale from Haddenham resident, Claire-Lise Kessler.

I was knocked off my bike on Wednesday morning, on my way to work, at the first roundabout in Thame coming onto the A418. Luckily I'm completely fine, but my bike is in poor shape.

I was waiting at the give-way line on the roundabout, for a gap in the traffic big enough for me to go; I had just decided to wait when the driver behind me decided not to wait and run me over!

I was stationary and managed to get off the bike before falling, so it's only the bike that's been damaged, thank goodness.

The back wheel is completely buckled, the rear derailleur gearing is bent and the light fell into pieces. I'm not sure about the frame so will ask the bike mechanic to check it thoroughly.

I have to say that the driver who knocked me down reacted very responsively. He was very worried that I might be hurt, and waited with me until we were sure that my husband was coming to get me. He also promised to pay for the repair on the bike.

I am member of the Safe Walking and Cycling group, and many local people will know that we've been campaigning for years for a cycle lane between Haddenham and Thame. We've always suggested that that this was an accident waiting to happen. Well, now that it has happened for me. So, as you can imagine, I'm even more keen now for that cycle lane to come into being!

But in the meantime, I do believe that we should have better markings on that specific roundabout — and probably on the other roundabouts in Thame also. The A418 gets quite wide going onto the roundabout, but there are no lines showing where the two nominal lanes are supposed to be. I was waiting way over a meter from the kerb, but obviously not far enough; I should have been in the middle of the lane — but how can you define the middle when the lane is not marked!

Furthermore, there are absolutely no markings within the roundabout. It's just a sea of tarmac, with no indication where to ride if we take the first, second, third or fourth exit.

I attach the photo of my poor bike. Of course, it was much more impressive when it was under the car's wheel, but I didn't think to take a photo at the time! I was quite shaken and in a hurry to get off the road!

At the Fete in Haddenham on Saturday, I am planning to collect signatures for a petition to demand more safety on roundabouts for cyclists, with better road markings, particularly for the roundabouts in Thame. Since I'm not an expert I won't go into too much specifics, but I'm convinced that much can be done.

I hope many Haddenham residents will wish to add their names to my petition. You can do so by clicking here