Olympic and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins was released from hospital yesterday having hospitalised after being knocked off of his bike in an accident in Lancashire on Wednesday – and his coach, Shane Sutton, remains in hospital, suffering severe bruising and a bleed on the brain following a collision with a car. Both accidents highlight the urgent need for greater cycle safety.
Wiggins, who was left with damage to his ribs, was injured injured as a van pulled out of a petrol station, with witnesses describing:
“He did look in a lot of pain with his ribs more than anything – he kept holding himself. His colour changed in his face and he was deteriorating within minutes with the pain.”
Sutton, meanwhile, was hit in Levenshulme, on the outskirts of Manchester, at 9:00am by a Peugeot 206 as he made his way to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester on Thursday morning. He was rushed to hospital.
The high profile accidents illustrate wider concerns about road safety for cyclists.
This month marks a year since The Times journalist Mary Bowers suffered extensive injuries whilst cycling to work. Mary was hit by a lorry and sustained a punctured lung, had both her legs broken, and suffered a broken pelvis. One year on she still remains in a state of ‘minimal consciousness’.
The lorry driver in question will next month be facing charges of dangerous driving.
Since the accident, The Times has, in her name, been pursuing a campaign for greater road safety and cyclist awareness – Cities Fit For Cycling. This campaig is steadily growing and is supported by MPs, Olympians and the prime minister. The data they have collated about cycling safety in different cities can be found here.
Wiggins himself is no stranger to calls for greater safety and awareness on the roads. After a cyclist was crushed and killed by an official Olympic shuttle bus during the Games, Wiggins made remarks about helmets being made compulsory by law (comments he later clarified), saying he felt there should be greater legal protection for those involved in accidents.
Even the inimitable Jon Snow has waded in and produced a manifesto for safer cycling, espousing the many values of cycling and warning of the many dangers.
One of the most high profile examples of poor cycle safety is the complete lack of helmets supplied with ‘Boris Bikes’, and the lack of any plans to include them – a decision and state of affairs that has come under much criticism.
Inaction is not good enough, something must be done – rhetoric must be turned into action.