To start, I need to apologise to anyone living in the Beacon Street-Wheel Lane area of Lichfield who was woken by a foul-mouthed tirade at 7.30am on Saturday morning.

That was me.

And I am genuinely sorry for my language.

I’ll blame the adrenaline rush.

No, actually, I’ll blame the lady who ploughed into me in her car as I attempted to negotiate the little island near Morrison’s on my bike.

So many drivers ignore the basic rules of the road at that particular mini island and this morning’s expletive-fuelled rant shows what can happen when they do.

I’m counting myself as lucky. Very lucky.

Despite the fact I had my bright yellow flourescent jacket on and was clearly signalling my intention to turn right into Wheel Lane, she ignored me. What is worse is that she had slowed down sufficiently to make me think she was stopping but then accelerated in front of me when I was less than 6ft from her car.

The impact was inevitable, but mercifully not as painful as I thought it would be.

Thankfully, years of negotiating this island as a car driver has taught me to always expect the worst. I braked, swerved and I hit the side of her car with slightly less force than if I’d carried on at the same pace.

After hitting the side of her car, I hit the road with quite a thud. Stupidly I jumped straight up and delivered my angry and very sweary opinion on her driving. But I am physically OK and apart from a bent handlebar, the bike is fine too.

My knee and shoulder ache a little, my hands and legs are still shaking.

Wearing a helmet again proved a wise decision – and reinforces the importance of the Headstrong Ride on May 9.

I singularly failed to be as cool as F1 driver Sebastien Buemi, who shrugged off the fact both his front tyres flew off at close to 200mph with a nonchalant “…it happened…” and a shrug of his shoulders.

But the reason I was so angry had nothing to with my own well-being.

As I got to my feet and walked towards the car that had just hit me all I could think was: “If anything happens to me, who cares for Rachel?”

The consequences of suffering some sort of serious illness or injury are too much for me to contemplate sometimes. As Rachel’s primary carer, I can’t afford to be indisposed.

(I know I use this pic quite often, but I love it)

Of course, the driver who hit me knows nothing of this.

But it was all that was flashing through my mind as she tearfully apologised and a fellow cyclist, who had been following me down Beacon Street, made sure I was in one piece.

I need to thank that cyclist for taking the time to make sure I was OK, reassuring me I had done nothing wrong (he’d seen the whole thing) and helping to straighten my handlebars. Thanks also to the chap stripping the paintwork on the windows of his house on Beacon Street for checking on how I was.

To the lady car driver, I hope you pay more attention to ALL road users in future.

As I slowly rode the rest of the way home I wondered whether the potential risk of riding my bike was worth it.

I love riding my bike, but the stakes are very high these days.

I’ll let you know if I make it back out on two wheels tomorrow.

Update: I did venture out, quite cautiously, on Sunday morning and didn’t encounter any problems. I kept the ride short – despite the glorious weather – mainly because I felt every one of the bumps and bruises I picked up yesterday. I have an impressive collection of aches and bruises down the left side of my body, from my shoulder to my knee.

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17 responses »

  1. bryonye says:

    oh that’s horrible. Glad you have taken it in your stride – did you report it to the police? I would if I were you. And do get back out on your bike soon – you know it’s worth it.

  2. Paul Groves says:

    Thanks Bryony. I might give the police a call, but my head was all over the place and didn’t get her full reg number.

  3. Rachel M says:

    I’m relieved to know that you are okay.
    Since it was none of your fault, there is nothing you can do to prevent it from happening again. At the same time, you also need to live your life in full, not worrying about what if.

    I hope you have an easy and calm weekend to recover from the shock.
    Once again, I’m glad you are okay.

  4. Paul Groves says:

    Thanks Rachel. Absolutely right and as soon as Rachel wakes up I’ll make sure she looks after me for the rest of the day 😉

  5. I continue to be amazed at the blind ignorance people display at that island. And I’m so relieved you’re ok.

    I do have to remind you though that we have family and friends close by and if anything did happen to lay you up (god forbid!) we’d be well looked after and we would manage.

    I’m still taking it all in. And I’m not quite sure how I feel that you’re first knee jerk reaction was your responsibility to me as a carer.

    But I do know it’s definately time to start lobbying for changes at that junction. After countless near misses finally being run down something has to be done. The next person might not be so lucky.

    Now I have to stop repeating what I’ve already said to you and give you lots of love in person.

      • Rosemary says:

        I think we can safely say Rachel, that from everything I have read from yourself and Paul, his 1st thought would have been about you,carer or not. Likewise yours would have been about him had the accident occurred to you. Yes the caring role creeps in and all sorts of thoughts go through our heads but thats natural, probably part of the shock to the system.

        Even with family and friends nearby,with an emergency plan in place, to be used when needed, most Local Authorities/carer centres have Emergency Cards. I know you are Lichfield but this is closest contact I can find http://bit.ly/b8UxcK .
        I carry a card myself in case of events like this happening.

        As an aside, giving you both advance warning to batten down your hatches.This geordie will be down your way July time, visiting a friend in Lye,Stourbridge.:P

      • Rosemary you’re right of course 🙂

  6. Nick Brickett says:

    Oh wow, so glad to hear you’re ok Paul. I myself cycle a lot during the summer months, and it’s amazing how many drivers just don’t see us. Idiots!

  7. Mary says:

    Eek! Glad that you’re not too badly injured to tell the tale.

    If it helps… Evilstevie and I managed to get an emergency plan called “In Your Place” as part of my Social Services care plan. Usually, there’s all sorts of care I’m not entitled to get from SS because I am living with an “able-bodied adult”. But they have a document on file with all sorts of information about me and about our house – medication schedules, useful phone numbers, nearest ATM and convenience store, where the First Aid kit/the fusebox/the water and gas stop taps/whatever are located, you name it – so that if, IF, he ever ends up hospitalised, a care worker will be despatched with all the necessary information to look after me in my home for (initially) 72 hours, which is supposed to be long enough for a social worker to put together a slightly longer-term revised care plan.

    Obviously I don’t know if it works in ‘the real world’ – I haven’t had to invoke it yet – but it’s very reassuring to have it on paper. It might be worth asking for.

  8. Richard says:

    Pleased that you’re okay. You really need to report the incident to the police as an RTA. She needs a warning and really her insurance company ought to be footing full repairs and hiking up her premium as such a liability. She’s lucky to have escaped with a verbal mouth full. You’re very lucky full stop. Take care bro’. x

  9. rachelburrows says:

    Blimey Paul – what a nightmare. I know the junction well as our friends live on Beacon Road nearby. I’m so relieved to hear that you’re alright but it’s the jolt and shock that’s so difficult to deal with.

    Glad that you were wearing a helmet, obviously, as you never know when you’re going to knock your head on a curb stone or anything else.

    Car drivers must learn to think bike, and not just motorbike, which you can generally hear approaching, but silent push bikes who have just as much right to be on the road as everyone else.

    Thank you for the second plug for Headstrong Ride – I only wish that this time it had been in different circumstances. Rest assured on 9 May we will mostly be traffic-free!

  10. cinderkeys says:

    Yikes. The one thing that reassures me slightly about your experience is the driver’s “tearful apology.” She won’t forgot what happened anytime soon. Hopefully she’ll be giving cyclists a lot of space from now on.

  11. […] a motorist ignored the rules of the road at a mini-roundabout and ploughed into him.  Despite the accident, Paul is back in the saddle and will cycle on the day. Rob Rowlands will be pedalling in […]

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