We all know the importance of red. When asked what colour goes faster, we all say red (of course my research is impecable), we all want red on our bike, red trim on shoes, red kit. I have even heard red called “Police Racing Green”. It’s the colour we all say when we are in the hurt box, “I was in the Red”. It’s the colour we use to describe how we should train, “You need to train in the red to get better”. The Specialised Venge uses red trim to make it look faster.
There are, however, a few other uses for red. It is the colour of the blood that I saw on the cheek of a cyclist this morning, the colour of the lights on the Ambulance that was called. It is the colour of embarrassment, that I am sure the cycist felt (if he could have remembered what happened). It is also the colour of the light that he ran.
I was on my way to work taking my usual route. As I crossed Murray St, on the bike path, heading towards Leederville, I saw a car stopped in the left turn lane of Georges St, waiting to turn into Wellington St. (I am sure you all know it, most cyclists will run the red pedestrian light to cross Wellington St). What was unusual about this car was that it had it’s hazzard lights on. My first thought was that this car had just broken down. When I was half way between Murray and Wellington St, I saw a scene that all cyclists dread, a car stopped in the middle of the road, a bunch of people standing around, and a person lying on the road. “Oh, No…..He’s been hit…” was my first thought. I stopped and tried to work out what had happened. I couldn’t see a manged bike, but there was the rider, lying in the middle of the road. What had happened?
Someone had gotten the rider up, to move him off the road. Someone else had called an ambulance (All motorists who had stopped). By this stage I had also stopped and was trying to help out. The cyclist was walked off the road, and I can only say, that if I had encountered him on a Saturday night in Northbridge, I would have assumed he had a skin full of booze and needed a taxi home. (Couldn’t walk straight, slurred speech, no idea where he was, or what had happened, all signs of a significant head injury. This article sums it up http://cyclingtips.com.au/2014/04/cycling-and-concussion-is-it-time-to-stop-ignoring-the-dangers/) The two motorists described what had happened. The cyclist had tried to cross the road while the pedestrian signal was red. The two cars coming west along Wellington St had right of way with a green light. The cyclist seemed to panic and slam on his brakes (I can only assume he grabbed a fist full of front brake). He then went over the handlebars and fell heavily on the road. The car only just managed to stop in time.
So what is the point of all this.
A rider this morning went to run a pedestrian red light rather than wait the 2-3 minutes it takes to wait for the lights to change (I know because I now do it every time at these lights). I can only assume he did it to save time, and to get some where a bit quicker. Not only is he not going to get to where-ever he was going quicker, he is not going to get there at all. He has caused others delay as well. The motorists who he tried to beat and ended up having to stop, the riders who stopped, all delayed because of a decision to run that red light rather than wait. “Oh… that won’t happen to me, I’m careful.” I hear you say. I am sure that the gentleman thought the same thing. It only takes one moment of inattention, one “BrainFart” to cause a serious accident. The last thing I want to see, is the figure of a rider in South Perth kit (or any other kit for that matter) lying on the road because they ran a red light.
I wish the gentleman a speedy recovery.
I also want to challenge all in the club to take a stand, don’t run that red light (Pedestiran or otherwise), wait for the green. You never know, it may just help our relationship with Motorists if we too have to obey the lights that they are sitting at.