It was a normal working day, I had ridden in like I have hundreds of times before. The first part of my commute had changed slightly as I had moved house three months earlier, but the roads weren’t unfamiliar.
As it was January, I was a good cyclist and did what is expected of me, I had nice bright lights front and back and a reflective jacket (not a proviz, I’m a tightwad, but the same effect). I had just puffed my way up a slight incline (I hate going uphill) and pulled up at the traffic lights at a busy crossroads about a mile from home.
Although this had only been part of my commute for a few months, I already knew the sequence of the traffic lights, left and right first as this was the main road, then the traffic from straight ahead, then us. I waited alongside a white van for the lights to change. The traffic opposite stopped, our light went green and off we went.
The junction is wide enough so that you can give the first couple of vehicles enough space to get past you before you need to get across the junction, so I gave the van plenty of room to do just that. Suddenly, I hear a loud horn and hear the brakes on the van screech. Before I know it I see a black four by four heading straight at me at about two o’clock. There is literally nothing I can do to avoid being hit and all that is going through my mind is “fuck, this might hurt”.
Then the impact. The car hits the bike, I think between the front forks and my ankle and before I know it, it’s over. The force had been enough to unclip me from my pedals and send my cycling glasses a few feet away (As per rule 37, I wear these over the straps). Lying on the floor I look up to see that the car that hit me has stopped and it’s brake lights are on and it’s right indicator is flashing. Without thinking I memorised the number plate, just in case he didn’t stop.
Almost immediately I am helped up by a lady who was a passenger in the car behind me. I am conscious that I am currently right in the middle of a busy junction in rush hour. Feeling like I have been winded and nothing more, I pick up the bike and get to the other side of the road out of the way of the traffic. The bike seems to be in decent condition, the front handlebars have turned 90 degrees, but otherwise it looks okay but I can’t ride it. Great, feel like shit and still need to get home with a bike that I can’t even freewheel.
I get my phone out and open the Evernote app and put the numberplate I read into it for reference. The guy driving the van has pulled over to make sure I am okay, he had his child in the passenger seat who was slightly traumatised by what had happened, so I get his number and he heads off.
The lady who helped me up tells me what happened and gives me her details. After waiting for five minutes, the driver didn’t come back so the lady and her daughter, who was driving the car kindly give me a lift home (I got a KOM during the drive back home as I forgot to stop the Garmin, so had to delete that ride, pretty sure I had some PB’s before I got hit too).
I put the bike in the garage and went in and told my wife what had happened. She couldn’t quite believe it. My ribs hurt and I had a few scratches, but otherwise I felt okay.
Although I didn’t do so at the time, once I was home, I rang the police to report the incident. Within a hour, two traffic officers (one tooled up, which was pretty cool) were at my house. They inspected my bike, took a statement and traced the driver of the car, who lived about half a mile from where the incident took place.
They went to visit him and came back to give me an update. The driver confirmed he was in the area, but “did not recall hitting a cyclist”. They also informed me that the front right bumper of his car had scratches on it, which his partner unwittingly confirmed to the police should be pristine as it had only recently been fitted.
It seemed ridiculous to me at this point why a driver, who’s car I had i’d, had confirmed he was in the area and had sustained damage to his car that would suggest he had hit somebody was protesting his innocence.
As you can imagine, this fucked me off a bit. If he thought I was going to lose interest in this, he was wrong, I read enough online about people getting injuring/killing cyclists and getting away with it. For me, it was a matter of principal, for all those people who don’t get up again or can’t give evidence, I had to make sure that this guy was held accountable. If he could do it to me, he could do it to someone else.