Archives For Cyclists

I’ve had my operation and I stayed in hospital for a few days after as I was in quite a bit of pain and had troubles moving.

Staying in hospital overnight has to be one of the worst experiences of my life. I was in a room with 5 other men, all of us recovering from operations. During the day it’s fine but atnight time it’s awful, just imagine 5 men snoring loudly all night long, the guy next to me sounded as if he was drowning! One of them kept calling for the nurse, who was often busy with someone else in a different room. I got very little sleep whilst I was in hospital :(
I was in the cadets at school and on several occasions we spent weekends at military bases and that meant sleeping in barracks with 20 other teenagers trying to play tricks on each other, I got more sleep then!

It’s been two weeks since the operation and I can safely say I’m feeling a lot better! Still in pain and discomfort but I’m moving around better.

I’ve also had two physio sessions so far, god that is agony at first! But I’m slowly getting movement back in my arm. Unfortunately due to me holding my arm in one position for two weeks due to really bad pain, my arm is really stiff and it will need a lot of work to get moving again.

How long till I’m back on the bike? Hard to say at the moment, I can see my see my self being off for at least a month, I’m not going to rush to get back on the road, any knock on it could make things worse, as soon as i can get back on the bike I will be on the turbo!

I’m on my way home now and I have to say the pain is excruciating. This sort of injury makes you realise just how bad the roads are, the smallest bump in road surface and I’m screaming from the pain.

As soon as I get in the door I’m pouring water to take the painkillers but straight away I remember that I can’t swallow pills. Strange I know but it’s something I’ve always had a problem with. Luckily I’m able to chew the pill form of cocodimol that I was prescribed and I picked up some soluble tablets in the next few days.

The plan was to go on holiday at the end of the week but over the next few days I was un-able to do normal tasks. Even getting in and out of a chair was difficult and extremely painful let alone getting in and out of bed, which was not something I could do by my self.
So I had to cancel my family holiday because there was no way I could travel, even sitting in a chair was uncomfortable.

My initial appointment for the fracture clinic was 12 days after it happened, the usual time for the first appointment is within the first 7 days, so mine is nearly 2 weeks out.
I tried to rearrange my appointment but unfortunately that was just not possible.

From what I was told it was a simple fracture and it should heal fairly easily but over the 12 days leading to my check up appointment the pain and discomfort was not getting better. I was limited to sitting in a chair and watching the television, even then in pain and discomfort. This was quite depressing, I’m an active person, I like to be out and about doing things, spending time on my computer and playing video games with friends. None of those things where possible with a painful shoulder and not being able to move my arm without pain.

The 12 days passed slowly and painfully. But I’m now waiting in the fracture clinic. I’m called in to see the doctor and on his monitor is my x-ray, the first time I’ve seen it. He tells me what we can see, it’s a double break, my clavicle is in 3 pieces.
He takes a look at my how it’s healing and it’s clear something is wrong, my clavicle is still pushing up on the skin and making a sizeable lump.
He says I need an operation to fix it (it should have been operated on the day it happened), it will involve repositioning the bones, inserting a plate and screwing it all in place. So he opens his diary on the computer, and says he can’t fit me in today but will do it tomorrow!

The shock hit me pretty hard, I wasn’t expecting that, especially after being told that I won’t need an operation when I was in A&E. It will be my first operation and something I’m not really prepared for mentally.

The broken clavicle is a common cycling injury. Cyclists often try to break their fall by out stretching their arm and unfortunately this leads to a break or fracture in the clavicle.

This happened to me 17 days ago, I won’t be going into detail about how it happened as the police are looking into it. But the resulting collision for me was the Tarmac at a high rate of speed. Before you ask, there is no video, my helmet camera was bashed, squashed and the memory card thrown from the camera when I hit the ground, I have looked for it but I can’t find it.

So I’m laying on the ground looking at the morning sky and I don’t even bother to try to get up, I know I’ve at least fractured my clavicle. Luckily there was a school nearby and a few shops on the other side of the road. Lots of people where there to help, be in calling emergency services, taking control of the situation, talking to me, contacting my parents and controlling traffic so it didn’t drive over me as I laid in the road.

Once the ambulance arrived they took a look and its pretty clear there is something wrong with my clavicle but we won’t know what until it gets x-rayed. At first I take gas and air to relieve the pain, I believe it’s a mixture of laughing gas and oxygen, it’s bloody awesome but you have to keep breathing it for pain relief.
They also gave me some oramorph which is morphine based but did little for me.

Before we could leave for A&E we had to wait for the police to arrive and they certainly took their time. We couldn’t leave incase the other person involved left. Eventually my mother arrived and said she would wait so I could go to A&E. So about 40 minutes after it had happened I’m finally in a moving ambulance.

So I’m finally at A&E, I’m given 10mg or morphine and I’m waiting for a porter to take me to x-ray. The police turn up and have a quick chap, they look over the bike and I tell them what happened, I found it strange that they didn’t appear to take notes of what I described in detail. But they where interested in the camera and what it would show, at that moment in time none of us knew the damage to the camera or that the memory card was missing.

The porter finally arrives and takes me down to x-ray. Unfortunately x-ray is a slow process and it would appear that morphine does nothing for me as I’m still in excruciating pain. Who knows how much time I was waiting for x-ray but it was too long for me!

Eventually I’m through x-ray and back in A&E, waiting for the results.

So the doctor comes to see me, she has looked at the x-ray and states it’s a basic fracture and the only thing they will do is put it in a sling and let it heal. It’s one they will definitely not operate on.
I had to be booked in at the fracture clinic where I will go for regular check ups to make sure it’s healing well. Unfortunately this is done a week after the break and I’m going on holiday in 2 days time. We ask for their advice and they say I should be fine to travel and the appointment is pushed back till after I’m back.

I’m discharged from hospital and I’m on my way home with some pain killers and my arm in a sling. I’m happy with the way everything has turned out and looking forward to the road to recovery but how simple is this road going to be?

I’ve been asked many times if I’m happy with the outcome of the road traffic collision that I was involved in late last year.
The simple answer is yes.

I was involved in a RTC in 2009 where a car pulled out or a minor road into my path on a major road, hitting me side on and sending me flying. It was totally the drivers fault but the police could prove nothing, my only witness left the scene without leaving any details so it was the drivers word against mine as to what happened. The case was dropped and I was left to fight the insurance company to cover my costs. The driver obviously got no punishment for the actions he took.

This case was similar, take away my video footage and it is next to impossible to prove exactly what happened. Add the video footage and it is clear to see that the driver crosses through a bus lane without first checking what was in it. That is what made the big difference in this case!

Was the ‘punishment’ enough? I certainly think so, a 6 point increase on your license is substantial if you have a clean license, add that onto other points and you are very close to losing your license. I’m not aware if the driver had any points on their license before the incident.
The fine might not have been as substantial as some might think, but a £350 fine is still enough to make a dent in the average person.

More importantly the whole experience for the driver will make him think twice about how he drives on the road.

A few have commented and said it was my fault for cycling as i was. I certainly could have read it better but the bottom line is it is the responsibility of the road user that is turning across the lanes of traffic to look for moving vehicles. As Magnatom says

Hindsight – It turns average cyclists into perfect cyclists.

FTA Cycling Code

June 27, 2011 — 2 Comments

The Freight Transport Associate recently released a Cycling Code. It’s aim is to improve the safety of cyclists on the roads and reduce collisions between commercial vehicles and cyclists.

The code is well worth reading, and can be done so here.
Here are a few interesting tips for cyclists and drivers take from the code.

Top tips for cyclists

1 Know the law and observe it
The law is clear that as road users, cyclists are bound by all the same rules as motorised vehicles.Whether this relates to alcohol, roadworthiness or traffic signals, failure to observe the law puts both cyclists and other road users in harm’s way.

2 Leave that lorry alone
Never undertake a lorry on the left, especially if you are at a junction. Don’t do this even if there is a cycle lane. Remember if you cycle on the left-hand side of a lorry you are in the driver’s blind spot and if the lorry turns, you will have no escape. It is difficult for drivers of large vehicles to see you, so don’t hide by the side of the vehicle.

3 Make eye contact
Make eye contact with other road users, particularly at a junction, coming out of side roads and at roundabouts; this may tell you if the driver has seen you or not.

4 Look behind you
Regularly look over your shoulders to see what is happening all around you. Check behind you when moving away from the kerb, before you signal to manoeuvre and at regular intervals to communicate with other road users.

5 Look ahead
Look well ahead for obstructions in the road, such as drains, potholes and parked vehicles, so that you do not have to swerve suddenly to avoid them. Planning ahead helps you to be pre- pared for junctions, roundabouts and traffic lights.

6 Ride on the road, not the gutter!
Your road position should not be less than one metre from the kerb and should be further out if it is not safe for a vehicle to pass. If someone does pass you inconsiderately then you have more room to get out of harm’s way. Keeping away from the gutter will enable drivers to see you and also help you miss the drain covers and debris on the side of the road too.Take extra care to hold your position near road humps and other traffic- calming features.

7 Don’t be floored by car doors
Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles and watch out for doors being opened into your path.

8 Make your intentions clear
Make your signal and manoeuvre well in advance, and only when it is safe to do so. Keep your position in your lane so vehicles cannot undertake closely on your left.

9 Cover your brakes
Keep your hands on your brake levers, so that you are ready to use them.Always use both brakes at the same time.Take extra care when it is wet or icy.

10 Lights
By law, when it is dark or there is bad visibility you must have lights on the front and rear of your bike.Always carry spare small lights in case your main lights are not working.

11 Cycle training
If you are a beginner or even if you are an experienced cyclist, you can benefit from an adult cycle training session. Find out more about cycling safely in today’s road conditions by contact- ing your local instructor at www.ctc.org.uk/instructors.

12 Be seen
Make sure you wear hi-visibility clothing, especially when the light is poor. Remember – bright, light clothes in daytime and reflec- tive material at night.

13 Stay sober
Don’t ride when you’ve had drink or drugs. Riding a bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs is just as serious and dangerous as if you were driving a car.

14 Listen
Make sure you can hear the traffic around you – don’t listen to music. Many vehicles have warnings to tell you they’re turning left – you won’t hear them if you’re plugged in.

15 Remember that large vehicles move to the right before turning left

Top tips for drivers

1 Respect other road users
Remember that cyclists are road users too and have the same rights as motorised vehicles. Make sure you know the speed limits and observe them – remember that the correct speed may be much lower than the legal limit.

2 Always check the field of view of your mirrors as part of the daily walk around check, or if the mirrors are dislodged during the shift Vehicles now have many mirrors and it is easy for these to be dislodged. Consider using floor mats to map out the correct area that mirrors should be covering – paint them at the exit gate.

3 ‘Give a metre’ or hold back until there’s room
Many roads have too little space for cyclists and hgvs at the same time. If an hgv cannot give a cyclist at least a metre’s clearance then they should hold back. Drivers should bear in mind that cyclists are trained not to ride too close to the kerb.The Highway Code advises that you should give at least as much room as when overtaking a car.

4 Plan journeys to avoid cycle superhighways at peak times
The cycle superhighways are intended to show cyclists – both regular and occasional – how best to get from the suburbs into central London and back. Drivers should be aware that where they see the blue cycle superhighway path there are likely to be more cyclists than normal – where possible drivers should avoid these routes at peak times, ie between 07:00 and 09:00 and between 16:00 and 18:00. Operators should work with their customers to develop delivery and serving plans or construction logistics plans to minimise peak-time journeys.

5 Look over the dash
There have been fatalities that arose because the cyclist wrongly assumed that the driver had seen them. Drivers should always take a moment to look to the front of the vehicle, even if they have a class VI mirror.

6 Concentrate
Drivers – focus on driving – do not use hand-held phones and minimise use of hands-free equipment.

7 Always indicate
Always use your indicators even if you don’t think there’s anyone there and indicate early, ie when cyclists are still behind you and most able to see your indicators.

Certainly some good pointers there for all road users. But will this code affect how safe the roads are? Who knows, at present it’s only a document.