Cyclists are still so vulnerable

Cyclists are still vulnerable

Cyclists are still vulnerable

First published in Letters to the Editor

ON MAY 26, my brother-in-law Robert Jefferies was cycling with a friend on the Wareham bypass.

Cycling was his life; he had ridden since his teenage years, for various cycling clubs in London, Bournemouth and Poole and had competed and won many prestigious competitions.

At 8.10pm, that life was ended in a collision with a car driven by an 18-year-old boy.

Robert had been in our family for 18 years and although his cycling obsession used to take him away from family events at times, he had nurtured my nephew, his stepson George, to cycle at championship level during his teens.

When my niece, Eve, was born in 1999 his life could not have been more complete and he took Eve for regular cycles on the Tagalong and later on a bike of her own.

But more than this, he loved being involved in other areas of her life and became a parent governor at the Swanage Middle School and involved her in other activities such as windsurfing.

Robert’s cycling club, Poole Wheelers, organised a memorial cycle on Bank Holiday Monday.

Meeting at Sandbanks Hotel, the 70 or so cyclists crossed the ferry, where they were met by members of the family and friends.

The group, led by Jane, my sister and Robert’s wife, made their way into Swanage and gathered at Gee Whites for much needed cups of tea!

While on this memorial cycle, my son, sister-in-law and cousin were verbally abused by a driver, who deliberately slowed down, wound down his window and told them to cycle on the pavement.

Later in the week, I was sitting in my car, watching the traffic approaching the spot where Robert died.

A friend of Robert’s has placed a white painted bike, which has since been adorned with flowers and messages from friends and family alike, which acts as a reminder, not only of a wonderful man, but of the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads.

As I was sitting, a cyclist rode past the ‘ghost bike’, tucked well into the side of the road, inside the white line. Not one car that past made any attempt to slow down or move to the centre of the road. What does it take to get the message across?

I am not a cyclist – never have been, never will be – but I am aware of cyclists and respect them for their choice and that they are as entitled to use the road as I am.

I hope that even just a few people reading this will agree and drive more carefully as a result.

Robert’s funeral is on Friday and will be attended by many who knew him from the cycling community, his two families and his many friends in Swanage. Eve has asked for bright clothes to be worn and it will be a celebration of the life of a man with many idiosyncrasies which despite of, or more likely because of, we loved and miss very much.

KATE COLCUTT, Park Grove, York

Comments (1)

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9:33pm Wed 8 Jun 11

downfader says...

I have read about Mr Jefferies recently. I'm not from the area but have experienced the same behaviour from a minority of drivers who think it is their god given right to abuse (the most recent one was yesterday afternoon - allowing his passenger to throw a stone at me which says a lot about premeditation).
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What I would like to see is some common sense from everyone in society. To recognise the good cyclists and the good motorists, and to be disparaging of the bad. The roads are statistically safe for the majority of cyclists, however it is the minority that scare people from cycling.
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There is however a major failing of the justice system (the CTC is working on presenting the evidence to the Government and the press hopefully soon). There is also a major failing on the part of the media whereby whenever a sad death is mentioned it becomes a platform for ranting about the bad cyclists. The sad fact of the matter is how many of those who end up as KSIs are actually law abiding people.
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They have been let down.
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My sympathies to Mr Jefferies family and friends. I wish them every bit of luck in progress for any investigation.
I have read about Mr Jefferies recently. I'm not from the area but have experienced the same behaviour from a minority of drivers who think it is their god given right to abuse (the most recent one was yesterday afternoon - allowing his passenger to throw a stone at me which says a lot about premeditation). . What I would like to see is some common sense from everyone in society. To recognise the good cyclists and the good motorists, and to be disparaging of the bad. The roads are statistically safe for the majority of cyclists, however it is the minority that scare people from cycling. . There is however a major failing of the justice system (the CTC is working on presenting the evidence to the Government and the press hopefully soon). There is also a major failing on the part of the media whereby whenever a sad death is mentioned it becomes a platform for ranting about the bad cyclists. The sad fact of the matter is how many of those who end up as KSIs are actually law abiding people. . They have been let down. . My sympathies to Mr Jefferies family and friends. I wish them every bit of luck in progress for any investigation. downfader
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