The story of Sienna Barnett who suffered a broken leg after being hit by a pavement cyclist has, as we now come to expect, unleashed a tirade of abuse. Once again, even though this is an ongoing Police investigation, comments have been allowed on the several articles published by the Echo. The first was a front page headline accompanied by a full page spread. Each article carries the emotive picture of the girl and family.
Her mother, who owns the shop outside which it happened, said “He came tearing down the pavement really fast and Sienna had only taken one step from the shop doorway when he hit her”
I decided to take a look at the incident site and found the following example of pavement clutter...
This wall of trees has been put out by the shop itself. We have to ask ourselves whether it was present when the accident happened? If it was, and the girl ran out from behind it, would even a responsible, diligent cyclist be able to avoid a collision? Suppose it had been a mobility scooter? Or even an OAP who could easily be put off balance and suffer a fractured hip in a fall.
Yes, pavements are supposed to be safe for children, but we all have a responsibility to act with care for others, even as pedestrians.
If, as it was closing time, the obstructions were not there, can anyone who cycles even contemplate going 'really fast' only 2 feet from these doorways when there's a wide pavement? We only have the mother's report of the accident - yet once again this chap has been found guilty before the fact.
Is it any co-incidence that the 2 most serious pavement cyclist accidents recently reported have both involved serious pavement clutter? According to John Satchwell, Bournemouth Council's Road Safety Manager: "In my view accidents are normally caused by error of judgement and or inappropriate behaviour under the prevailing circumstances. I think it highly unlikely that inanimate objects will have caused a cyclist to collide with a pedestrian"
I'm not convinced.
We finish today with Tesco's latest contribution to road safety. The new Tesco Express on Holdenhurst Rd has this inflatable advert outside. When the picture was taken there were 4 people on the pavement behind it level with the 2 you can see at the cashpoint. Mind you, there probably won't be any cyclists visiting as the 4m+ wide pavement has no bike stands.