The cyclist injured after he fell into the River Orwell in Ipswich last week while trying to make way for an elderly woman on a mobility scooter has revealed that two of his friends lost their lives after falling into the river near where the incident took place, and has called for urgent safety improvements to be made.
The cyclist, 29-year-old Richard Mudie, suffered cuts and bruises in the incident on the afternoon of Monday 3 June. Police are treating the incident as a failure to stop on the mobility scooter user’s part, and have appealed for witnesses.
Mr Mudie fell into the river as he tried to make space for the woman, whom he had spotted coming towards him, and has called on Ipswich Borough Council to put up safety barriers to prevent similar incidents in the future, reports the Ipswich Star.
“I slid right in,” he told the newspaper. “My £500 phone was destroyed and all my clothes were ruined. I swallowed sea water, it was horrible.
“That part of the footpath is really narrow because the wall is unstable and so some railway sleepers have been used to prop it up,” he added.
“I really think there should be barriers along that stretch of river.”
Mr Mudie revealed that he didn’t feel any anger towards the woman involved.
“She was in her own little world,” he said. “She probably couldn’t hear me, I don’t think it was intentional – she didn’t realise what she had done.”
Mr Mudie said that after falling into the river, for what seemed “like ages but was only five minutes” a man who was passing by came to his rescue.
“I was really scrambling about, it was so difficult to get out,” he explained.
“I don’t know what would’ve happened if someone hadn’t come along, I would like to thank him for his help.”
The woman involved is described as between 70 and 80 years of age with “mousey” hair. She was driving a red mobility scooter with what are described as “thick wheels.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC David Wright from Suffolk Constabulary, Ipswich on 101.
In its section on Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs, the Gov.uk website lays out the different rules that apply to them, depending on whether they are categorised as Class 2 or Class 3.
Both are subject to a maximum speed of 4mph off the road, and only the latter can be used on it, with an 8mph limit applying.
Additional rules for Class 3 scooters include that they are banned from motorways, bus lanes and ‘cycle only’ cycle lanes – although in this specific case, it was a path alongside the river, not a road, that it was being driven on.
Whether those rules are adequately communicated to and followed by the people who use such means of transport is open to debate.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.