Monday 5 December 2016

Amanda Brunker: 'I've narrowly avoided killing three cyclists already this week - when will they wise up?'

Amanda Brunker

Published 11/10/2016 | 09:45

Amanda Brunker
Amanda Brunker

I've killed nearly three cyclists in the last week - when are people on bikes going to wise up and light up?

  • Go To

All three were students wearing black hoodies, on dark bikes with no reflective strips…

I'm sure you know the type. Living close to UCD, they are a regular feature on my road. Emerging from the shadows, they weave in and out from parked cars like ghosts, almost taunting you to hit them. It's got to the stage that I'm almost terrified to take the car out in the evenings. The anxiety of hitting one of them is a major problem as none of them are wearing a helmet either.

While the role of parenting can certainly be harder and often more of a long-distance affair once your children turn 18, it does not mean your job to protect them is done. Sorry to disappoint.

Before people think I'm a cyclist hater (which many motorists are), I am not. I can be spotted out and about on many days with my white ladies' bike, complete with basket and flowers. Total naff, I know, but I love it.

With reflective badges adorning my helmet and my pink high-vis jacket, I am visible from space… no, seriously - and I make no apologies for it.

No f**ks are given about helmet-hair or style stakes: when I'm travelling from A to B, I need to arrive alive and that's a message that is hammered home with my boys.

Amazingly, I see kids as young as mine cycling without helmets on the school-run. It enrages me. Helmets are not luxury items and can be purchased for about €10 to €15 - nor are reflective stickers on school bags. You can pick up bicycle lights at Dealz for Christ's sake.

Why parents would allow their precious child onto the road on a bike without some sort of safety gear is mind-boggling.

So what if they complain about wearing a helmet. MAKE THEM WEAR THE DAMN HELMET! It's your job. No one said parenthood would be easy.

When checking my facts for this column, I was disheartened to learn that it isn't compulsory by law to wear a helmet. I genuinely thought it was. Nor is it compulsory to wear reflective vests, which I think is a disgrace.

Instead, wait for this: your child cycling on the path is illegal. And while having one small red reflector on the back of your bike is legally compliant, not having a bell is also illegal.

Which means my 10 year-old - who cycles to and from school each day wearing his high-vis vest, high-vis gloves, helmet and lights - is a criminal for not having a bell on his bike. The injustice of it all is infuriating.

Just in case you haven't noticed my sincere passion on this topic, wake up: there is steam coming out of my ears as I write.

While encouraging a 20-something year old that studies away from home to light up like a Christmas tree while cycling - when he or she is also trying to lob the gob with the cool girl or guy or gender-fluid person - can be pretty difficult, it's still worth suggesting. But those kids living at home, no matter how old they are, need to play by your rules.

So stay safe folks and please be that high-vis, helmet Nazi.

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Life