Archives For Cyclists

I remember when I first started recording my cycle journeys. At that time there where only a handful of cyclists that where regularly using and uploading footage onto the Internet. But look at it now and the users are in the hundreds. But why has it become popular?

As more and more videos of dangerous driving get uploaded onto the internet and more cyclists view it, the appeal to record and upload your own experiences becomes larger, especially if you have a few close shaves with motorised vehicles.

Factor in the new availability of cheaper cameras, the veho muvi camera has had a massive effect on the affordability of it. When I first started you where looking at least £100 for a system and even then it wasn’t great. Now you can get a camera for less than £20!

I’ve noticed the most growth has been in London. I have nothing to back this up but I think the growth came about shortly after the launch of roadsafe London. Cyclists jumped on this and I believe most of the reports are from cyclists. Roadsafe London changed the way that cyclists could report drivers. Before it was an impossible task and mostly taken as your word against theirs, even if you had video footage, it’s only worth the process to yourself, the police and the CPS if it is seriously bad. Roadsafe London has made it dead simple. Put the car details in, add a description, some notes about what happened, include your video URL (if you have one) and that’s it.

Now the popularity has increased, we are selling more and more media coverage of cyclists using cameras, earlier this year several cyclists appeared on BBC news in a piece about cyclists catching dangerous road users and only a few weeks ago was a driver caught punching a cyclists on someones helmet camera.

Unfortunately I see the main reason for cameras is because we are not listened to, we use them to back up what happened and to prove to people that the person that knocked us off is in the wrong. In some cases it’s a real fighting battle to be a cyclist as a lot of people just don’t want to listen to what we have to say.

Try and ignore us now, together we record our tales on the road.

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.