A video nasty in Croydon as urban cyclist is taken down

Helmet cam footage captures classic car-cyclist collision

by Mark Appleton   December 20, 2010  

YouTube - Road Traffic Collision.jpeg

Many of us will have been there, minding our own business making good progress up the inside of stop-start urban traffic when a right-turning, oncoming vehicle cuts across our path.

Usually one or other party has time and space to take evasive action but not always. The result, in such cases, is often your classic bike's front wheel into car’s nearside front wing collision.

Rarely though, if ever, has this sadly all-too-common accident been captured on video from a rider’s eye view. Unfortunately for him, Gareth Williams a blogger and tweeter who also goes by the moniker @cyclegaz, has done just that and he has posted the resulting footage for all to see.

Gareth describes himself as “a helmet camera cyclist from South London” and on December 17 he shared with the world the hair-raising video footage from his commute in Croydon the previous day.

The clip graphically illustrates the dangers urban cyclists face when motorists fail to take account of the fact that buses and taxis are not the only machines that have right of way when using “bus” lanes.

Gareth let everyone know via Twitter that he suffered no broken bones or cuts in the collision although his front wheel took a pounding as did his back and arm.

You can check out Gareth’s urban cycling video blogs here.
 

33 user comments

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No matter how careful a cyclist you are, you will always come into conflict with a car at some point. For what ever reason, i missed the gap emerge in the traffic where a car could come from. An itchy nose, or snow on my glasses could have caused me to be distracted for a split second. But for what ever reason it is that i missed it, the car driver failed to check properly if anything was in the bus lane, he was lucky that it wasn't a bus, as he had little to no damage to his vehicle from me.
I think this highlights the issue that no matter how good you think you are at reading the road, at some point you will miss something and you might get hit.

posted by gaz545 [12 posts]
21st December 2010 - 1:06

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We've all been there, there is no guarantee of safety by doing nothing wrong. You'll still be hit just as hard by the errant motorist. Helmet cams might just be the ticket when dealing with driver negligence. Glad to hear bike and body are okay in this instance.

posted by Zee [70 posts]
21st December 2010 - 2:28

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As an urban commuter in central Birmingham for the last 30 years I would have spotted the potential for just this sort of incident. I have been in just this situation many times and have come through unscathed because I anticipated the problem and am always very cautious when approaching and entering such junctions on the inside of stationary traffic.

For sheer self preservation sake I dont cycle at speed into a situation where I do not have a clear view and more importantly other road users do not have a clear view of me.

I'm sorry to have to say it, but this cyclist was a fool and I have little sympathy for him. He is very lucky to have got away with things as lightly as he did.

I'm not letting the driver off but he did seem to be moving fairly slowly and would rightly have expected traffic in the bus lane to be vigilant too.

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posted by andybwhite [183 posts]
21st December 2010 - 11:35

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andybwhite wrote:
As an urban commuter in central Birmingham for the last 30 years I would have spotted the potential for just this sort of incident. I have been in just this situation many times and have come through unscathed because I anticipated the problem and am always very cautious when approaching and entering such junctions on the inside of stationary traffic.

For sheer self preservation sake I dont cycle at speed into a situation where I do not have a clear view and more importantly other road users do not have a clear view of me.

I'm sorry to have to say it, but this cyclist was a fool and I have little sympathy for him. He is very lucky to have got away with things as lightly as he did.

I'm not letting the driver off but he did seem to be moving fairly slowly and would rightly have expected traffic in the bus lane to be vigilant too.

It is rather common for cyclists to make out that they would have spotted this and seen it coming, it makes you feel safer than you really are. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and seeing an incident emerge in a video is fairly easy.
As i said, at any point in your ride you can be distracted by a number of things and you can miss the details of a gap emerging.
In this case, even if you where going 10mph there would be a chance that you would still get hit by this driver, as he came through the stopped cars with such speed.
The only way to avoid such incidences is to leave the bicycle at home.

posted by gaz545 [12 posts]
21st December 2010 - 12:39

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I've been taken out in exactly the same manner (at considerably higher speed!) although astonishingly there was no damage to me, my clothing or the bike.

It wasn't even a junction, it was a guy pulling across the street so he could park next to a shop. Dark, damp roads, busy traffic, headlights, brake lights (why DO drivers sit there with their foot on the brake pedal?!) and I simply didn't see the gap in the traffic and certainly wasn't expecting anything to come across it what with there being no junction. The guy just didn't look - someone in the queue of traffic had obviously left just enough space for him and he floored it through the gap and straight into me. I had 3 front lights on and he still didn't see it. If it had been a bus coming down the bus lane the car driver would have been killed.

posted by crazy-legs [504 posts]
21st December 2010 - 17:30

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andybwhite wrote:
I have been in just this situation many times and have come through unscathed because I anticipated the problem and am always very cautious when approaching and entering such junctions on the inside of stationary traffic.

so far, you have. I was able to say that until earlier this year as well, but i got knocked off and it wasn't for my lack of attentiveness, but for the driver's. and his lack of indicating.

here's hoping that you don't go from being an attentive cyclist to a 'fool' anytime soon. If you do, it probably won't be for lack of trying to stay safe.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
21st December 2010 - 17:35

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Sometimes a series of all too human small mistakes combined with plain bad luck can conspire to take you out, as gaz545 says he might have been momentarily distracted and missed the emerging gap, the driver turning right clearly wasn't paying close enough attention, okay he would have seen gaz545 late because the height of that minibus would have blocked him from view for the first part of the turn, but that is no excuse. And as for the minibus I wonder if the driver of that signaled to the guy turning to make the manoeuvre without checking his mirrors first? If so, his or her moment of inattention played a big contributing part too.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4135 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 0:11

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I'm glad that gaz was not hurt in the collision, however I do agree with andybwhite when he says that on approaching a such a junction where visibility is imparied like that then the cyclist has a responsibility to slow down and remember that cars have priority on the roads. The car in question was moving obviously quite cautiously and was aware of the possible hazard, why was the cyclist not doing the same. Having something in your eye is not an excuse, if you had something distracting you then that is all the more reason for slowing down.

Many cyclists (and I have experienced this on both sides of the fence) cycle as though nothing should be allowed to impede them or slow them down, and all this while riding on roads that are paid for by the road tax paid by cars/vans etc. A little more respect for these paying road users would not go amiss

posted by malachantrio [7 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 14:58

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Quote:
the cyclist has a responsibility to slow down and remember that cars have priority on the roads

really? where in the highway code does it say that then? so far as i'm aware the priorities regarding cyclists are the same as for other road users. so, if you're proceeding along a lane you're allowed to travel in, you have right of way over vehicles cutting across you. imgaine this is a car collision: who's to blame? the same liability applies to cyclists.

Quote:
The car in question was moving obviously quite cautiously and was aware of the possible hazard

so why did the collision occur then? and i ask again, if it had been a car proceeding legally then who is to blame?

Quote:
A little more respect for these paying road users would not go amiss

do NOT get me started on that.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 15:19

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Excerpt from Highway code rule 62 (a rule aimed specifically at cyclists)

"Always be prepared to slow down and stop if necessary. Take care near road junctions as you may have difficulty seeing other road users, who might not notice you."

The collision occurred because the cyclist was not paying due care and attention. Why do we apply one rule for cars and one for cyclists. i.e. Cars should be paying full attention at all time yet it is ok for a cyclist to say that he can't pay full attention because he may be preoccupied by something else.

I don't think its unfair to ask that road users who are not paying for the privaledge of using the roads should have a bit of respect for those that do.

posted by malachantrio [7 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 15:53

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Should i add that i own a car, pay VED, MOT costs and insurance for it? and that i have 3rd party insurance for when i'm on my bicycles.
As i've said before, if you miss the hazard appearing, how can you prepare for it? I'm a safe cyclist and my safety comes before anything else. It's not uncommon for cyclists to say they could have spotted that coming and avoided it when watching a video, hindsight makes an average cyclist into a perfect cyclist Wink

Replace me and the bicycle with a taxi, doing 10 - 15mph faster than me down that bus lane, and the same accident occurs, this time there are injuries to both parties involved. Who is to blame? The taxi for driving without due care and attention? Or the vehicle crossing the bus lane without looking?

posted by gaz545 [12 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 16:42

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If the taxi is not paying due care and attention then of course he is to blame, just as a cyclist not paying due care and attention in the same situation is to blame. Any road user has a responsibility to themselves and, more importantly, others to be careful and slow down at potential hazards. Its not a case of it being easy to spot the car retrospectively in the video, its a case of having realised long before then that you were approaching a junction where your vision, and that of others, would be impaired. If instead of doing the 10-15 mph that you were probably doing you had slowed down and were checking if anything was coming then the accident may have been avoided.

Neither is it entirely your fault, these situations are very difficult to predict and what caused it was a combination of your failure to slow down and the drivers difficulty in seeing you in time. I just think that some of the comments on this post completely refuse to accept a cyclist could ever be at fault in any way, I find this slightly childish and the sooner drivers and cyclists stop trying to blame each other for everything and instead drive/cycle with more care the roads would be a much safer place for everyone.

It is good to hear that your one of the more responsible cyclists with 3rd party cover, I'm sure the driver appreciated it for repairing the damage you did to the car.

posted by malachantrio [7 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 17:16

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At first I thought "How did the cyclist not see the gap coming, and why didn't he slow down?" like many posters here.

But when I watch it back it seems more and more like there is very little to make you think there is a gap there that a car might try to come through, no change in the lane markings. Plus, as he was approaching the gap wasn't so significant as to think it might be left clear for cars, like when it says KEEP CLEAR on the road.

And the more you watch it back the more it seems like the driver is just piling through the gap and not carefully sneaking across.

Bad driver, cyclist not at fault, in my opinion.

posted by italiafirenze [68 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 17:33

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I'm sure you're enjoying your windup on a quiet Thursday afternoon, so I'll give you a chance to continue. As you quoted one section of the Highway Code, I've chosen another for your consideration.

Section 127 of the HC:
127
A broken white line. This marks the centre of the road. When this line lengthens and the gaps shorten, it means that there is a hazard ahead. Do not cross it unless you can see the road is clear and wish to overtake or turn off.

posted by nellybuck@msn.com [156 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 17:36

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Well I think I'd better stop posting, since apparently free and open discussions are not promoted in these comments, as indicated by my original comment being removed, presumably for disagreeing with the cycling mafia.

I like that my comment is still quoted by dave_atkinson but no longer exists itself.

Well I shall leave you all be then, I hope ignoring other points of view works for you

posted by malachantrio [7 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 17:57

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malachantrio wrote:
Well I shall leave you all be then, I hope ignoring other points of view works for you
No great loss there, from his profile he only rides a Kona Dew, so couldn't be a proper cyclist could he. Not that I am a bike snob or anything. Smile

Bendy

posted by bendy [29 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:07

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Quote:
Well I think I'd better stop posting, since apparently free and open discussions are not promoted in these comments, as indicated by my original comment being removed, presumably for disagreeing with the cycling mafia.

how is this not a free and open discussion? you're saying stuff, other people are saying stuff. no-one's deleted any of your comments: i would know, because it would be me that would have done the deleting.

Quote:
If the taxi is not paying due care and attention then of course he is to blame

i'd like to see that one play out in court. driver proceeding legally struck by driver cutting across lane. I know who my money would be on.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:14

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by the by, this is what i can see. any other users having selective comment invisibility issues? if so, we'll look into it Thinking

Picture 44.png
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posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:18

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Yeah, I can't see his original post (but I can see the subsequent posts and the quotes)

posted by nellybuck@msn.com [156 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:22

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nope, i can't see it either. Thinking

here's my two ha'porth though: i've a certain amount of sympathy with malachantrio's viewpoint that cyclists ought to look where they're going, as should cars. However, his argument rather falls down when both parties fail to do that and collide, and the cyclist clearly and demonstrably has right of way. you can fluff it up however you like, but that goes to court and it's the driver at fault.

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posted by Barry Fry-up [187 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:26

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Well apologies if it is simply an IT issue, but I am still unable to see my original post, as are a few other people I have sent the link to.

I would be extremely surprised if a court ruled in favour of either party and not simply deem it an accident due to contributing factors from both sides. Not my area of expertise and I'm sure it could vary from court to court.

posted by malachantrio [7 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:31

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see if your comment is back now? i feel like an optician. is it better with? or without? Smile

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:32

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Ah yes, good work it is back now Smile

posted by malachantrio [7 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:34

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was something to do with the old 'flag as offensive' thing. tbh we never use that anyway, so i've turned it off. I think you might be the first ever person to be flagged Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
22nd December 2010 - 18:43

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italiafirenze wrote:
At first I thought "How did the cyclist not see the gap coming, and why didn't he slow down?" like many posters here.

But when I watch it back it seems more and more like there is very little to make you think there is a gap there that a car might try to come through, no change in the lane markings. Plus, as he was approaching the gap wasn't so significant as to think it might be left clear for cars, like when it says KEEP CLEAR on the road.

And the more you watch it back the more it seems like the driver is just piling through the gap and not carefully sneaking across.

Bad driver, cyclist not at fault, in my opinion.

I'm sorry! How can the cyclist NOT see that there is a road joining from the left? There's a socking great gap in the buildings with a car already attempting to emerge, that's a hell of a clue.

Even if the cyclist wasn't awake enough to anticipate that the queueing traffic might have left a gap for other road users to make a turn then surely he should have realised that it's just as likely that a vehicle could emerge from the left and attempt to join his lane, just like the one that was already encroaching into the junction from the left! There is no way I would have carried on at speed past that one as I would have thought it quite likely in such poor visibility that he may not see me and pull out anyway.

I stay with my original point. No cyclist (or any other less vulnerable road user) should enter a junction at speed where they do not have a clear view and, just as importantly, other road users do not have a clear view of them (hidden by the van in this case).

Driver doing exactly what you would expect in this case, cyclist cycling without due care and attention.?

Imagine the case is the roles of the bike and the car were reversed?

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posted by andybwhite [183 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 11:38

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Quote:
Imagine the case is the roles of the bike and the car were reversed?

I'm imagining that and I'm seeing a cyclist blithely turning through traffic without checking and getting hit by a car tanking along an empty lane. He gets pretty badly hurt in my head, but it's his own stupid fault. Seems us cyclists can't win, eh? we proceed with right of way and get hit, it's our fault too...

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posted by cactuscat [302 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 12:21

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cactuscat wrote:
Quote:
Imagine the case is the roles of the bike and the car were reversed?

I'm imagining that and I'm seeing a cyclist blithely turning through traffic without checking and getting hit by a car tanking along an empty lane. He gets pretty badly hurt in my head, but it's his own stupid fault. Seems us cyclists can't win, eh? we proceed with right of way and get hit, it's our fault too...

I never said the driver wasnt at fault - he was, mercifully he wasnt moving any faster. I said the cyclist was a 'fool' as he should have anticipated the situation and proceeded with more caution as he had demonstrably the most to lose.

After all, if the cyclist had died as a result of the incident it wouldnt really matter to him who was at fault - he'd be dead anyway!

As cyclists we are vulnerable an need to remember that at all times. I'm a pretty agressive and assertive cyclist but self-preservation is still top of my list.

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posted by andybwhite [183 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 15:53

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Surely gaz545, the cyclist in question who has been contributing to this thread btw, is not entering a junction he is passing one, there's a difference. He would have been entering one if there had been two broken lines across the carriageway - the carriageway that he is riding on is continuous - the car driver on the other hand is entering a junction and should proceed with care. I suppose it will be up to a court to decide whether he/she did so with due care and attention.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4135 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 15:59

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tony_farrelly wrote:
I suppose it will be up to a court to decide whether he/she did so with due care and attention.

As a cyclist I really wouldnt want any cycle ride of mine to end up in court. I just want to get back safely. It's no help to me if the driver is found to be at fault and I spend the next 6 months on crutches or worse!
gaz545 was very very lucky ... but he could have been wise and safe.

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posted by andybwhite [183 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 16:13

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andybwhite wrote:
tony_farrelly wrote:
I suppose it will be up to a court to decide whether he/she did so with due care and attention.

As a cyclist I really wouldnt want any cycle ride of mine to end up in court. I just want to get back safely. It's no help to me if the driver is found to be at fault and I spend the next 6 months on crutches or worse!
gaz545 was very very lucky ... but he could have been wise and safe.


Like i said before, you can misread any situation, and it will lead to something like this. A minor distraction will take your eyes off the road and you miss the gap appearing.
Hindsight with a video, makes an average cyclist become a perfect cyclist.
I'm sure you've made a few mistakes on the road whilst on your bicycle Wink

posted by gaz545 [12 posts]
23rd December 2010 - 17:57

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