Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
I dropped the MX-6 in to the local garage yesterday morning for a service and tune up. The local garage is about 3km away, so I walked home.
About two-thirds of the way home I came to a steep rise. Here the footpath narrows and is edged by a retaining wall on one side, the road on the other.
I'd just started on the up-slope when a cyclist careered past me at high speed - on the footpath. I barely avoided being struck, plastering myself against the retaining wall. He shouted something over his shoulder. Some imprecation, I assumed.
It wasn't, actually. He was trying to tell me his children were coming along on their own bikes, but I couldn't make it out. I stepped back on to the path and a moment later a little girl crashed into me. She went sprawling into the gutter.
A moment later we'd pulled her to her feet. Her face, hands and knees were badly abraded, poor wee thing. Bystanders flocked from everywhere, and the unanimous opinion was that I'd done something terribly wrong by hurting the girl. I pointed out the cycle lane right next to the footpath, but no one seemed to care.
The father, though, shook my hand and assured me he didn't blame me. He took his daughter off to the doctor's. I don't think anything was broken, but she did take a terrible fall. She must have been going 30km/hr when she hit me.
Two things. Why do cyclists think they can use footpaths with impunity - especially when purpose-built cycle lanes exist? And a middle-aged man hasn't a prayer when accused of hurting a little girl. I was a little shook up by being hit, a lot shook up by the girl's injuries, but very hurt by the reactions of the bystanders.
I hope you're okay, though.
Indeed, lesson learned - bike paths are for bikes, footpaths for pedestrians and lack of vision (whether a corner or a hill) MUST be respected.
Oh, remind me to tell the story of when my brother decided it would be a good idea to ride down a set of stairs. Doctors still tell him not to drink because of the brain damage... And the time another brother, riding innocently down the road, went straight into a car door because an unsuspecting driver dared to open it... And the time my Dad crashed his motorbike and couldn't walk for two weeks because of the inter-leg damage...
My family really shouldn't be allowed on bikes. :)
Mind you in Canberra we have shared pedestrian and bike paths and talking a walk sometimes can be really dangerous.
I don't mind cyclists using the footpath as long as they exercise care. After all, mobility scooters use the footpath too. It might be helpful for these users to imagine the odd pedestrian on the footpath, and not to go speeding down hills when the base of the hill is invisible.
But when a cycleway is right next to you, why not use it?
You'd best be careful Russell, a hip injury at your age... **runs away and hides**