Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

My daughter was knocked off her bike on Hurst Street tonight about 5 30 pm, by a car coming out of the slip road next to the Village Pub. It's a busy cycling time there, the driver stopped, but not a single cyclist stopped to see if, while she was flat on her back, she was OK . No one stopped to help her put her chain back on either, even though she was distressed, shocked and crying. At least 10 cyclists went past her. 

Her father and I cycle a lot too. We thought we were part of a Birmingham cycling community. Are we? 

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Sorry to hear this. I hope she and her bike are ok. I would have definately stopped but it's not on my route. I would have thought that most other cyclists would have stopped too and am quite surprised and disappointed that none did.

Personally I would definitely have stopped. Perhaps from an older generation but there is an unwritten code of communal support amongst cyclists.
Unfortunately I don't think this persists so much in younger people and hardly at all in those who are less conversent of cycling traditions.
Regardless of that, I would have hoped that somebody would have stopped and helped. A sad enditement of the world we live in.....

It's worth reading the advice here - http://www.birminghamcyclist.com/page/had-an-accident# also a good idea to check the bike thoroughly in case it has damage that may make it unsafe to ride. 

Hope she is ok. I'm surprised. I flipped by bike upside down to tweak my brakes and clean my rims one night on Five Ways underpass and within about 3 mins 3 seperate cyclists asked if I was ok and/ or needed help

That's three accidents involving cyclists I know about in the last 7 days. Not good.

We might be part of a cycling community, but maybe the people who didn't stop were people who just happen to use a bike for transport?  I suppose this sort of thing is inevitable as cycling becomes more common, and that's probably a worthwhile trade-off.  (Particularly, it means that fewer cyclists have basic tools or mechanical skills to lend.)

Whether I stop to offer someone assistance depends on various factors, not least:

  • The severity of the situation (including how far from civilisation it is).
  • Whether there's actually anything useful I could do.
  • Whether it appears that people already have things in hand and I'd just be getting in the way.  (If a person is flat on their back, but obviously under care of non-cyclists I might assume that helping fix their bike is Not A Priority).
  • Whether I feel I'm risking my personal safety by stopping.
  • Whether I'm in a hurry to be somewhere else.

Over the years I've stopped to help at the scene of medical emergencies a few times, helped people push conked-out cars out of the way and directed traffic a couple of times, and made countless offers of tools or expertise to cyclists with obvious mechanical issues a long way from anywhere -most of which haven't been needed but a some of which have saved people a long walk home.  I've also given my details to victims of motor vehicle collisions that I've witnessed, though they've never been needed, and called the police when I saw someone hacking through a bike lock with bolt cutters.

I've also ridden right past people with with flat tyres in dodgy urban areas, avoided suspicious (but probably harmless) groups of teenagers struggling with chain problems on quiet cyclepaths, and not stopped to lend a tool because I've got a train to catch and I know there's a bike shop round the corner.

And I've been on the receiving end of countless offers of help from passing cyclists when I've been repairing a puncture, answering my phone, adjusting my saddle or investigating some random squeaking noise.  The community is definitely there, but it's a subset of a much wider society.

Thanks for all this, and she is OK.We will get the bike checked and she's off to work this morning on mine. I think my horror and her distress was in the simple lack of human kindness. We're optimistic that this is not symptomatic of commuting cyclists but still a little saddened that no one - pedestrians, drinkers outside the pub or cyclists , offered a concerned or kindly word . 

Sorry to hear about this Jo. Generally I've found that when I'm in any trouble about one in 4 passing cyclists asks if I'm alright. Many seem to be completely self absorbed (the better the equipment the less likely to stop?). 

If someone's knocked down surely fellow cyclists should stop to offer moral and actual support, help with the bike and with countering any potential  "You were riding too far out from the kerb" Audi drivers.

Glad she's staying out on the road to keep up the good fight. All the best, Hugh

Thanks Hugh . Yes, I was shocked too, it's not generally my experience either, that's why I am so puzzled. Anyway, in the way of youth she is cracking on. Thanks again 

FWIW, when I had a nasty crash over the course of nearly an hour about fifty cyclists stopped to help/check I was okay.  Not one car did (despite my lying in the road for all of that time).  And when I had a minor off a few weeks ago, three people stopped their cars - two of them cyclists who happened to be driving, one a driver who wanted to shout and call me names.  

But perhaps there is a difference between “cyclists" and "people who use bikes as transport".  I had someone quite deliberately ride straight at me last week on a shared use path; there was plenty of space, and it clearly wasn’t simply a case of someone not knowing to keep left; instead it was a yob on a bike looking to provoke a reaction/situation.

I am so sorry to hear this, but relieved your daughter is ok. I had a similar accident in the exact same place about ten years ago, but found fellow cyclists did stop and check and get the ambulance I needed. Like you I did think that we were one big community that watched out for one another and I am deeply saddened that no-one stopped to check your daughter was ok.

That is really awful! Very sorry to hear that. I don't live in Birmingham anymore but whenever I can I normally stop to offer help to someone after an incident or broken down. Even when I see drivers broken down I stop to make sure they have help coming. I hope your daughter has better experience in the future cycling. 

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