Driver rear ends cyclist while texting

The driver of a Jaguar hit a cyclist on Chiswick High Rd from behind while using his phone to text, it is alleged.

Rebekah Hall cycles regularly on the High Rd, using her bike to do shopping and run errands, and she says she was lucky not to come off the bike and into the road when the car nudged her from behind last Tuesday. She wasn’t seriously hurt but the impact was sufficient to give her some nasty bruises and to break the driver’s wing mirror. “The car clipped the back of the bike” she told me. “I was in the cycle lane and I didn’t see it coming. I’ve been cycling for a long time so I was able to manoeuvre and stay on the bike but it shoved me off to the left. There was a significant impact on my right wrist and I have bruising on my right thigh.

Rebekah was in the marked cycle lane, going east from Lloyds Bank to M&S, and the event was witnessed by another cyclist behind her, who says he saw the driver texting. He told me that the car driver had nearly knocked him off when he was alongside, which is what caused him to look down into the car and he saw quite clearly that the driver was texting. When he hit her, the driver pulled over and asked Rebekah if she was ok but she says he then called her a ‘stupid woman’ before he drove off. She’s reported the incident to the police, who said they would get back to her within five days.

According to Hounslow Cycling Campaign this type of incident is very common and would be prevented by the introduction of the segregated cycle track which Transport for London is planning to install, as the kerb separating the cycle track from the road would protect cyclists. “The dry statistics and bureaucratic language of police casualty reports don’t tell the human story behind them” spokesman Michael Robinson told me. “The police casualty report will note that it was a “slight injury” and boxes will be ticked with other details of the collision. It won’t say that Rebekah is a mother who cycles between the post office and Outsider Tart every day to do a few shopping errands and collect her child. It won’t say if she is so frightened now she won’t want to cycle there again. It won’t say how many of her friends and family will also be scared by someone they know being injured this way”.

Rebekah is American and doesn’t drive in this country, though she has lived here for fifteen years. “I love my bike. It’s so convenient and easy. I’m just a school mum running errands and now I don’t feel safe to do that any more. It’s doesn’t sound like much but actually it’s quite devastating”.

Transport for London are due to finalise their plans for the cycle path route by the end of the summer, after the latest period of consultation. Opponents of the cycle lane are considering whether they should bring a judicial review of TfL’s plans.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL publish amendments to Cycleway 9

See also: Cycleway 9 set to get the go-ahead