Romford Recorder reporter, and keen cyclist, Ramzy on his narrow escape while riding through Manor Park

Romford Reporter Ramzy Alwakeel was knocked off his bike

Romford Reporter Ramzy Alwakeel was knocked off his bike - Credit: Archant

Last week, a cyclist in central London was knocked down and killed by a left-turning vehicle.

The difference between what happened to the lady cyclist and what happened to me the week before was pure chance – she was in an accident with a lorry, and I was only hit by a car.

She ended up under a wheel, but thankfully I bounced off and hit the road – sustaining a few grazes but nothing worse.

I have been riding for two years and love my bike.

Despite the spine-breaking potholes – any motorist who complains about road surfacing has clearly never tried the Romford Road on a cycle – my rides to and from work are among the highlights of my day.

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Last Wednesday at about 7.30pm, I was passing Seventh Avenue in Manor Park when a left-turning car cut across the cycle lane – without indicating and presumably without looking – taking me out with a thud and leaving me lying in the road.

I had lights and reflectors on, I’d been keeping to the correct lane and I hadn’t jumped any traffic lights.

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I had right of way. That might explain why the driver didn’t stop to check I was alright. Besides, he, or she, might have been late for whatever appointment was more important than my safety.

That’s the message I get daily – that I should prioritise drivers’ convenience over my own well being.

That I need to keep to the far left-hand side, where there are drain covers and lorry parts and broken glass.

That I don’t have a right to the cycle boxes at junctions. That I’m not worth the space or time it takes to guarantee me safe passage where the road narrows.

The onus seems to be on cyclists, not the people driving the big metal boxes, to take responsibility.

I’ve never seen an advert urging drivers to wait for cyclists before turning left, or asking bus drivers not to cut us off by pulling into bus stops. I have, however, seen adverts urging me not to ride down the inside of buses, even though in most cases that’s where the cycle lane takes me. It’s a bit like telling an ant not to get trodden on.

But until the capital is redesigned as a cycling utopia, it’s down to everyone to share the road safely. Next time you’re about to hoot at a cyclist for getting in your way, stop and ask yourself why they’re there. Maybe they’re getting ready to turn, or maybe they’re keeping away from a junction they know isn’t safe.

I’m not going to stop cycling - but given a choice between inconveniencing a driver for 20 seconds and getting knocked off my bike again, I know which I’d go for.

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