Conversation of a worried boy to his mum about his daddy

conversation of a boy to his mum about this dad

“Mummy, why did Daddy look so worried when he come from work today?”

“He had another nasty time on that roundabout again. You know, the one we say is dangerous for cyclists.”

“What happened to him Mummy?”

“A car drove too closely past him and hit him slightly.”

“A car? But Mummy, Daddy’s on a bike! Cars are bigger and faster than bikes.”

“Yes, I know. That’s why he looked so worried. He could have been knocked off.”

“In the middle of the roundabout? Mummy, the other cars could have squished him!”

“Yes, he could have been very badly hurt. He could have had to stay a long time in hospital.”

“But Mummy, why does Daddy have to go on that roundabout if it’s so dangerous?”

“Because it’s on his way to work.”

“Isn’t there another way he could go?”

“Well, he could go over that new bridge over the river, but then he would have to slow down because of all the people walking on it.”

“So that’s why he goes over the road bridge – because it’s faster?”

“Yes. And then he could go through that little tunnel under the station, but he will have to get off and walk because he’s not allowed to cycle through it.”

“Because of the other people walking through it, and the people sleeping there?”

“Yes. The Council thinks it’s dangerous to cycle through there.”

“But it’s dangerous to go over that nasty roundabout, isn’t it Mummy?”

“It is. But it’s quicker, and you know how rushed he is in the mornings to get to work.”

“Mummy, do lots of cyclists get hit on that roundabout?”

“Yes, they probably do. A lot more than people think. Daddy says he often sees other cyclists almost get hit because the cars drive so fast.”

“Doesn’t anyone tell the police Mummy?”

“Yes, some people do, especially when they’re badly hurt. There is a special website that records how many accidents there have been on that roundabout.”

“But Mummy, what about all the times when cyclists have been hit slightly, like Daddy was?”

“They probably haven’t been mentioned on that website.”

“Why not?”

“Because the police don’t think this is serious enough to record it, or people haven’t bothered to tell them.”

“But Mummy, that could be hundreds of cyclists who get hit or almost hit all the time!”

“Yes, there probably is. And it’s not just cyclists, but cars too.”

“Cars too?”

“Yes, it’s a very dangerous roundabout for everyone who uses it.”

“But why isn’t something done about a roundabout that’s so dangerous?”

“Well, people have been trying to tell the Council it’s dangerous, but they won’t listen.”

“Why not?”

“Probably because they don’t understand, or don’t want to spend any more money, or they don’t care about the cyclists that use it.”

“That’s awful Mummy! Cyclists like Daddy should be able to use the roads safely.”

“Yes, they should. Listen I heard there’s going to be a special ride to protest about that roundabout.”

“When is it? Can Daddy go? Can I go? Can you go?”

“Yes, calm down, it’s on Saturday 23rd March at 3pm. Everybody is invited to ride their bikes around that roundabout and through that little tunnel under the station.”

“But won’t it be dangerous for everybody?”

“No, because there will be lots of bikes at the same time. The cars will have to stop for us.”

“That’s brilliant! But won’t it be dangerous for the people walking through the little tunnel under the station?”

“We will go through it in twos and threes, so it remains safe for everybody who uses it.”

“That’s a good idea. I want to go. Can we Mummy?”

“Yes, we’ll ride over that new bridge over the river, and meet everybody in Christchurch Meadows at 3pm.”

“Yay! I want to go and tell my friends about it, so the roundabout is made safer for Daddy and all the other cyclists that use it!” [Runs off excitedly}

[Under her breath] “Yes, and I don’t want to end up a single mother, especially with another baby on the way, because my husband was killed on the most dangerous roundabout in Reading.”

[For more information, visit https://www.readingcyclecampaign.org.uk/protest-ride-on-23-march/]

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Richard Denney

Good story and it’s food for thought and food for ACTION! I hope to join the protest ride but the decision makers will still be slow to act. Some years back I was riding my Brompton coming from town in bright daylight and was almost run into by a vehicle that intended racing me to exit the roundabout. Luckily he must have seen me at the last second and braked hard so I just avoided impact but fell on his car bonnet. What did the driver say? “What way were you going mate?” What did I say? “You were lucky”, amongst other things! If he’d uttered the usual “sorry mate I didn’t see you” then he wouldn’t have braked hard and my injuries could have been serious, like some other cyclists at this accident blackspot.

Reply
    Alice Elliott

    Glad you approved of this story – it is meant to be food for thought, especially the statement at the end.

    I’m glad you managed to avoid getting seriously hurt by that car.

    Reply
Tim Toman

I find it hard to comprehend that with all the work done to upgrade Reading Station and the money spent on the Christchurch Bridge, and after all this time, that Reading council and Network Rail have bungled so badly. I moved from Reading 9 years ago. When I lived in Reading and used my folding bicycle at both ends of my daily journey to west London, I found Reading station very frustrating to use with a bicycle: it was infuriatingly dysfunctional. I wish you every success in your battle for sensible, safe cycling routes.

Reply
    Alice Elliott

    Due to the lack of CCTV on the cycle racks, I don’t park my bike on the south side. Therefore I purposefully ride through the underpass to the north side where they have safer cycle parking. I don’t want to risk having my bike stolen again.

    Reply
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