‘Are Cyclists Unsafe, Uninsurable, Unethical And Uncared For?’



A mock-up of a two-way cycle route along Dublin’s north quays proposed by Dublin City Council last year

About this time last year I was taken to hospital following a cycling accident. It was assumed that I had been hit by a motor vehicle.

After emergency surgery, my ankle was put back together as well as could be expected given the injury I sustained.

Unfortunately, I require further surgery in the hope of keeping arthritis at bay, followed by the inevitable complete replacement of the ankle joint in the years to come.

All of which means I experience daily discomfort and impaired movement. The cause of this accident was another cyclist.

My commute to work is a relatively simple 40-minute cycle, consisting of a short meander through suburban roads, then the rest on a dedicated cycle path. My bike is old and sturdy and I am adorned in day-glo and of course wear a helmet.

After the collision, my helmet was split open, my bike battered, and laptop bent! And I realised I was unable to walk. As I stood, leaning on my bike, a lycra-clad cyclist proceeded to shout at me and made to move off. Despite my protestations that I could not walk, he left the scene.

In my moment of need, a member of the fire brigade, caught in the morning traffic, came to my aid.

Due to the severity of my injury, I reported the incident to the Garda. Despite following up with local traffic cameras and the on-board cameras on Dublin Bus, no evidence was forthcoming to identify the cyclist. This is key, as one cannot then pursue any form of compensation.

If I had the misfortune of being hit by a motor vehicle, then at least there is a fund (managed by the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland) that could be availed of.

I, however, am left with no recompense for any and all future implications of the accident.

Are cyclists inherently unsafe, uninsurable, unethical and uncared for?

David Jennings,
Co Dublin.

Cyclists and insurance (Irish Times letters page)

Pic: Cycle Dublin

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62 thoughts on “‘Are Cyclists Unsafe, Uninsurable, Unethical And Uncared For?’

  1. Increasing Displacement

    If that cycle way came to pass the cyclists cycling too fast would only complain slower less able cyclists were in the way and that they should be removed or the cycle way widened. They are never happy, all the lycra and carbon fibre in the world wont make them happy either.

      1. Increasing Displacement

        Too fast for a cycle path with users of different ages and abilities, yes.
        That was evident from my post as I never mentioned a road.
        Please learn to read what’s written.

  2. Feidlim MacSásta

    For starters, people need to stop using the terms cyclist, motorist, pedestrian, etc because that assumes each groups has it’s own unique characteristics, needs and wants.

    We are all people moving from A to B, simply using different methods and therefore, all susceptible to human nature, good and bad.

    1. Turgenev


      The leap from “this one gobdaw who ran over me and then shouted at me and ran away leaving me injured” to “cyclists” is ludicrous.

    2. Martin Heavy-Guy

      Nailed it. I sing this tune every day. I’m so tired of ‘cyclists’ being this and ‘drivers’ being that. Well said.

      I’d add that very few people wish each other harm and I believe this labeling is used to bracket groups together to create perception of differences.

  3. Clampers Outside!

    Sad state of affairs that. I know the horse has bolted, but for future, no matter how slight the accident… never let anyone involved in an accident leave without you getting their details.

    Good luck with your recovery.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Clampers, on this occasion only I will offer advice. You are absolutely correct in the advice you offer to these victims. In certain circumstances a person’s Household Insurance Company can come into play. Your Sheik has been successful in at least two such actions for badly injured people.

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        PS whilst I’m here can I just remind people that Michael Noonan literally rolled out the Red carpet, and hired harpists and Irish Dancers in order to suck up to Donald Trump. Beyond disgusting.

        1. Sheik Yahbouti

          PPS. KBC convicted and fined for all round banditry? Aren’t they the ‘go to ‘ guys for this Government?? Go figure.

        2. jimmy russell

          Trump made crude remarks 11 years ago he is literally a rapist he needs to be arrested for hate crimes against women.

    2. Bruncvik

      Easier said than done. About two weeks ago I was hit by a cyclist while standing at a crosswalk, waiting for the little green man. The cyclist came from behind me, on the Grand Canal cycle path, and decided to cut left on the intersection, across the footpath where I was standing. He didn’t even slow down after hitting me, just shouted “sorry” and was off. If you tortured me, I wouldn’t be able to give you the color of his jacket. And forget about being able to chase him down. Fortunately, I only got a small bruise and was able to wash the bicycle grime off my trousers. But had he knocked me down and broke my ankle, forcing him to stop would be the last thing on my mind.

      I think what we ultimately need is to change our culture: less hectic and inconsiderate, and more good Samaritans on the streets. In short term, we could do with more traffic cams at the most notorious intersections (side benefit – they’d be a gold mine along the Grand Canal route, given the amount of red light violators) and possibly visible ID tags on bicycles (someone mentioned this here a week or two ago already).

  4. Sido

    I suppose one would have to approach an insurance company to ask for the cost of the cover, and indeed if it is provided for under cycling, or another policy, to get the answer.

  5. medieval knievel

    best wishes to the poor sod, but his rhetorical question at the end would place himself in that group, so it’s an odd way to ask the question.

  6. papa p

    “lycra-clad cyclist proceeded to shout at me ”

    Is “lycra-clad” really needed?

    The author doesn’t say if the “lycra-clad” was to blame, what he said or if indeed he himself was to blame.

    More often than not the ones you see cycling recklessly are the non-lycra clad kind.

    1. me...

      It’s the lycra clad, arse in the air, carbon fibre mounted cyclists that are trying to hit top speeds that are the most obnoxious of all road users. It’s a personality type. Thank the heavens for cheap diesel and copd.

      1. Martin Heavy-Guy

        I wear lycra shorts because I’m very sweaty and loose shorts make my nether-regions cold. I don’t try to hit top speeds (bike couldn’t do it anyway), I only do it for comfort.

        And to show off my lovely arse.

    2. Horselover Fat

      Nonsense. Middle aged men in Lycra, probably on loads of steroids like their heroes, are a scourge to society. Angry, shouty, belligerent bum-holes.

      1. medieval knievel

        you mean they’re more likely to be drivers too, to be assertive in traffic, and know their rights on the road.

      2. pedeyw

        That is true for middle aged men in a lot of situations. People complain about millenials but middle aged men are the most self entitled section of society.

        1. Billy Kremlin

          No middle aged women are by a country mile. Most middle aged men have worked for their lot and have some humility.

          1. Mayav

            I might have believed that if you hadn’t tried to insult someone by implying he was really a woman a few minutes ago.

    3. Clampers Outside!

      I think it is fitting. A ‘lycra-clad’ would indictae someone who uses their bike regularly, not just for commuting, and so this would indicate that even heavy users ofbikes, who should know better, are as guilty as the numptee on a DublinBike who hand signals without looking behind them before pulling out.

      1. Scundered

        most “lycra” cyclists I see are very obedient, like you said already they are on the roads a lot more than others, and as a result are a lot less likely to risk a fine.

  7. Fact Checker

    I have considerable sympathy for this man.

    The problem is that for an insurance market to work you have to have a system for establishing liability.

    It is next to impossible to establish liability in the event of a collision between two cyclists. It is less likely that there will be witnesses (no passengers), physical evidence of the bikes won’t tell you much, and there will be no tell-tale skid-marks or evidence from vehicle positioning like there is with a RTA.

      1. medieval knievel

        one of the greatest examples of a $50 solution to a $5 problem.
        the government is trying to get more people cycling (well, that’s the stated aim, which might run contrary to their actions).
        every one cyclist you keep off the road because of the ludicrous paperwork you’d like to see, will cost more to keep in their car than keeping ten cyclists on the road.

        1. postmanpat

          agreed . lets keep cycling free shall we. and less cooked up cyclist vs cyclist articles Broadsheet, which do nothing to help the situation. Some old fart comes off his bike and breaks his ankle (unclear in the article what exactly happened , if it happened at all) and all of a sudden all cyclists are the problem and should be taxed? give me a break. A woman died after getting hit by a truck the other day don’t forget .A truck , not a lycra clad fellow cyclist. resulting in a death. not a ankle boo boo. Mr Blackrock should contact the injuries board instead of fueling debate for a shakedown of people who rely of free peddle power to make ends meet. But sure why would someone from Blackrock care about less well off people?

      2. Turgenev

        Goody, more jobs for civil servants administering your wizard plan, and more gardaí diverted from those silly old burglars and nonsense like that to inspect licence plats and tax documents.
        Of course, a high proportion of cyclists in Dublin are riding trackable Dublin Bikes, but let’s not let any sensible thought in here by any means.

  8. DubLoony

    Would the author be able to persue through the injures board? http://www.injuriesboard.ie/eng/FAQs/

    As a cyclist, am amazed at the idiocy I see.
    Was on Westmorland st, Dublin in heavy traffic. Not a place to play chicken with the buses. Idiot comes hurtling through the traffic, at speed, while people trying to cross the road.
    I & a few others let a roar at him to stop but wallop, straight into people & then sped off.

  9. Goodnight Ireland

    I’m cycling to work for over ten years and definitely the biggest dangers are the bike to work lads in racing gear flying it. Many times I have seen cyclists giving out to cars over some perceived slight only to cycle on and break a pedestrian light.

    1. medieval knievel

      ‘the biggest dangers’? can you quantify that?
      to use one measure – 40% of the people killed on the roads in dublin are pedestrians. and it’s not cyclists killing the pedestrians.
      there have been over 4000 people killed on irish roads since the last incident in which a cyclist was responsible for the death of another road user. if cyclists were as dangerous as is often claimed, we wouldn’t be looking at that statistic.

      1. aido

        Yeah but it’s significantly harder to kill someone with a bike than a car isn’t it? Just because the accident doesn’t result in a fatality, doesn’t prove cyclists are the safer road users.

        1. medieval knievel

          eh… so? by definition, if they’re less able to cause damage, it’s safer.

          you may be confusing the concepts of ‘reckless’ and ‘dangerous’.

  10. mamma roma

    just remove all cars from city centre, it’s very simple really might make this dump a bit more bearable what with the ugliest people in europe and endless clusters of dirty townies and their spawns.

  11. dangerfield

    I feel for this guy – the number of new cyclists putting more experienced ones at risk seems to be increasing daily. The amount of time I’ve been undertaken by cyclists in the last year is more than in the last ten years combined. Or some who seem to think that getting to the front of the queue means you want to race whoever’s already there.
    That said, the generalisation from one incident to all cyclists is silly and doesn’t stack up. Cyclists are indeed uninsurable, as the statistics show that it costs much more to process them than the policy would cost, due to the inherently low risk of an accident causing damage to other vehicles.
    I don’t know why cycling basics aren’t tackled in schools, or some govt-funded agency that could go from school to school and enact programmes for good etiquette and practice, rules of the road etc.

    And as for that photo – the lane isn’t fit for purpose. That width, in any country that takes cycling provision as something more than an opportunity to mock their population, is fit for one direction only, allowing cyclists to overtake slower cyclists.

  12. Wayne Carr

    I was recently knocked off my (push) bike by a pedestrian. I had a green light, and the person proceeded, with head firmly placed in her phone, and earphones on, to walk out straight in front of me. 100% her fault, three or four other people looked up and decided not to walk out in front of me. Both of us were injured.

    I was off the road for about ten days afterwards. My left arm, the side of the body which took the brunt of the impact, is still painful. Genuine question, can I get money out of her?

    On that topic, should pedestrians be made to wear reflective gear, have lights, wear helmets?

    Or is this just a load of auld nonsense?

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