With news that cricketer Phil Hughes had died from a head injury, gutted doesn’t come close. Not because I’m a cricket fan, (my sport is cycling) but because I’m a human being and once suffered massively – indeed still do – from a “freak accident”.
Where Phil was hit on the side of the head with a cricket ball, I was hit on the back of the head by a metal pole protruding from the side of a passing wagon.
What chance a polystyrene helmet against a huge lump of metal travelling at close to 40mph?
In a subsequent debate, experienced cricketers mentioned other cricket accidents and accidents in other sports, including the head injury suffered by Michael Schumacher while skiing.
Former cricketer and commentator Mike Gatting basically said ‘we should not get into a debate about safety in cricket; every safety measure that can be taken is taken.’
Isn’t this the case with all dangerous sports?
As a cyclist, not only have I suffered a near-death experience – doctors said ‘had I not been so fit I probably wouldn’t have survived’ – I’ve also lost four bike-buddies. But not competing! All were hit by drivers who either didn’t see them, or lost control of their vehicle: negligence in my case!
With over 100 of us being killed each year on our roads, isn’t it time cyclists enjoyed the same safety as sportsmen or as drivers?
Research has shown that you’re 16 times more likely to be killed travelling by bicycle than by car.
It’s said Bikeability – cycling proficiency for the 21st century – will make a safer cyclist.
Myself, my four bike buddies and even Sir Bradley Wiggins couldn’t avoid being hit by careless/incompetent/negligent drivers.
When over 90 per cent of cycling casualties are due to driver error, doesn’t that suggest drivers should also sign up for Bikeability?