Not the way I’d choose to test my HPV design and construction

As I was cycling into work this morning, on my enclosed recumbent trike, someone drove into me from the side, knocking me about six feet sideways. Fortunately the rain cover of the trike is made of polycarbonate, the same stuff as vandal-proof bus shelters, and I was unhurt (and the trike doesn’t seem to be damaged). Inspecting the car later with the University’s Health and Safety officer, we found that it was leaking fluid from the engine compartment, probably from the radiator pipes, so the impact was considerable. I got out to take the car’s number, and told the driver off and called the Gardai (police). I think the driver was probably a student. I told the Garda who attended that I’d like to take it through to get points on her licence or whatever the law provides for such offences (I think she was an unaccompanied learner anyway, which Ireland has at last made illegal) and they said they’ll get in touch with me later (probably Saturday) to arrange a written statement. I might feel a bit more shaken later — the impact was enough that I would have at least been very seriously injured, and quite possibly killed, if I’d been on an upright bike — but at the moment I’m mostly just in a cross mood! However, I’m glad to say I did my to observe the University’s “Dignity and Respect at work” regulations while pointing out that she could have killed me and was evidently not safe driving.
As a side observation, I was somewhat disturbed to find that while I was waiting for the Gardai to arrive, people were sympathizing with the driver for me telling her off, and weren’t helping me! They hadn’t actually seen the collision, and only noticed when they heard me “giving out” at her.
I hope that the Garda action, whatever it turns out to be, will stop her driving for a while: if she has to cycle to get around for a while perhaps she will be more careful when she goes back to driving. I don’t hold it against her personally (I think she was just being what is commonly referred to as `stupid’ but has more to do with carelessness than cognitive deficit) but if I don’t follow through on the legal side, and she goes on to kill a cyclist or pedestrian, I’d feel that I’d contributed to that through neglecting to follow through.
I doubt that there’s anything that can be done about it from the Health and Safety aspect, but I reported it anyway, for the records. Speed bumps would probably just get people driving faster to make up for the delay, and I think the problem is driver inattention / inability rather than speed. The bushes of the landscaping of the car parks do restrict visibility somewhat, but if drivers aren’t looking anyway (or aren’t looking for anything other than motor vehicles, and hence not seeing anything other than motor vehicles, as I suspect was the case this time) that will only make bad drivers’ negligence more clearly-cut but I doubt it would help them to drive better. (In fact, better visibility might `make’ them look less carefully.)

Anyway, my home-made HPV design is vindicated.


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