Archives For Cyclists

The HMRC have confirmed that there will be a change to the popular Cycle To Work (C2W) Scheme that has allowed more than 400,000 people to get a bicycle for a good price.

Current savings are made due to the buyers company purchasing the bike and then hiring it to them. The company doesn’t have to pay VAT and this is passed on. The updates, from 1 January 2012, will mean that savings are cut as the employer has to charge VAT on the value of the salary foregone. Bike Radar have done some figures on the changes;

Currently, an employee on basic rate tax can choose a £500 bike and ‘hire’ it for 12 months for £287.50 (£34.72 a month, minus £10.76 in income tax and NI savings on the total salary). After paying the £108 final value fee (£90 + 20% VAT), they’ll have spent a total of £395.50. This represents a saving of £104.50.

From 1 January, ‘hiring’ the same bike will cost £345.12 (£34.72 + 20% VAT a month – £41.66 – minus £12.90 in income tax and NI savings). After paying the £108 final value fee, they’ll have spent a total of £453.12. This represents a saving of £46.88 – less than half the current discount.

The saving on a new bike becomes so low that it’s the sort of price saving you could make by buying a bicycle online or talking you way into a free lock or similar from the bike shop. My personal experience with the C2W Scheme is a good one but I’ve always seen it as a problem that you are generally limited to which stores you can shop at. My employer gave me the options of Evans or Halfords. Some will groan at the mention of either of those names but my experiences of Evans have always been good. With the limiting factor it makes it harder for the independent bikes shops to get new business, which is a real shame as some of them are top quality.

I can see many companies stopping the cycle to work scheme as now the saving just isn’t big enough and the work is much more. The effect this will have on cycling is going to be pretty big, I notice that every time the e-mail at work comes around about C2W scheme I get people asking me questions about cycling and some of them see that actually they don’t live that far away and they could cycle to work easily. I suspect that this will effect the increase of cyclists that we have seen since it started in 1999.

The Bexley Assault

July 28, 2011 — 6 Comments

For those of you that didn’t see, a few weeks ago a Video Camera Cyclist caught a driver getting out of a vehicle and assaulting another cyclist. Supposedly because the driver passed so close to the cyclist just before a pinch point that his mirror struck him.

It should be an open and shut case but unfortunately the police that took charge of this incident where a bit on the lazy side and gave up when a small challenge was put in front of them. Needless to say the cycling community was up in arms about this and resorted to viral media to get something done about it.

The police originally reported back stating that the owner of the vehicle was not the man in the video and he was not aware who took his vehicle, he was at a wedding and left the keys in his car and it was taken, but apparently returned undamaged and with the keys. Something certainly didn’t add up and why didn’t the police question this further. It’s suspected but never confirmed that the driver at the time was not insured, and if he took the vehicle then is liable for several offences. All of which seem to have been overlooked.

After the clip went viral, local papers picked it up and so did national TV. The driver shortly handed him self into the police and was later fined £400 and order to pay £100 to the victim.  Unfortunately his fine was 1/3 of what it should have been, the judge gave him a discount for pleading guilty.

I seriously do question if the driver was insured and if the owner knew about him taking it. If he did then he allowed the person to drive without insurance and prevented the police from completing their investigations. If the driver genuinely didn’t know about the person taking his car then the driver should be charged for taking the vehicle without consent. Unfortunately none of this has been covered by any news sites, I will just have to presume that this has been overlooked. An example of road laws being overlooked by non-traffic police officers.

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?