Thursday 8 April 2010

3 up time trialist killed

I was very saddened to learn that just two days before my last post about the necessity of giving cyclists room, Graham Shinton was killed competing in the Birmingham CC 3up Team Time Trial on 28th March.  My heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends.  The previous weekend I took part in the Oxonian 3up TTT.  A challenging experience.  I was rightly advised by my team captain that I should be riding much closer to the wheel ahead.  It is a difficult skill and even professionals crash not infrequently on Team Time Trials as followers of the Tour de France will recall.  I found that many motorists gave us a wide berth but some did not.  I know nothing of course of the circumstances of Mr Shinton's fatal collision save that an overtaking car was involved.  This tragedy has received less publicity than that of Captain Jonathan Allen.  Cyclists really ought to be able to ride on the roads confident that even if they were to fall off they would not be struck by an overtaking vehicle; this is why the law in much of Europe requires 1.5 metres.  It is not enough that a motorist leaves sufficeint space that there is no collision if both the motor vehicle and the cyclists continue on a dead straight course.  This may be ok, if a bit scary in 99.99% of manouvures but will still leave a lot of casualties given the very large numbers of occasions on which motor vehicles overtake cyclists.  What is required is a very large margin for error given the seriousness of the consequences if something goes wrong.

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