Brian Kelly: Cyclists are their own worst enemies

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Every community has a small group of people that have little disregard for the laws of the land, and our community is no exception.

Last week I came across a couple of cyclists out for weekend ride.

Nothing wrong with that, you might say. Hundreds do it all the time.

What was wrong with this particular couple was they were not wearing crash helmets.

The reason that I took particular notice of the two no-helmet wearing cyclists was that only a couple of days before a well-known local athlete had been out on a training ride on his bike, had hit a pot hole that catapulted him off his bike and on to the road quite heavily.

Unfortunately, he broke his collarbone, but had he not been wearing a helmet he would have come off a lot worse.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of cyclists who do not wear cycle helmets.

Heaven forbid, you even see them riding along with their helmet hung over the bike handlebars.

Like that's going to really save your head in a crash.

I wonder if they realise that it is actually compulsory to wear a helmet when riding a bike, although I have to admit I have not heard of anyone being fined for not wearing their helmet, though I am sure they have.

To me wearing a helmet when riding a bike is like wearing your seatbelt in a car.

The lawmakers introduced those laws to help save lives.

Think about the number of motor vehicle accidents where a seatbelt has not been worn and the consequences of that crash.

Nine times out of 10 they end in a fatality.

The fact that you are so much more vulnerable when riding would make you think it was common sense to strap on the safety lid.

Sometimes cyclists can be quite vocal about motorists and how dangerous it is on the roads, but there are a few cyclists out there that do give bicycle riders a bad name.

Not just those that don't wear helmets either.

There are the road hogs: the group of two or even three cyclists that ride together, not in single file.

This group makes it darn near impossible for motorists to pass and they don't seem to give a damn.

Then there are the Wrong Ways: these cyclists travel on the wrong side of the road, into approaching traffic. Dangerous!

More than often, this particular group are schoolkids on bikes and can be found as schools empty out at the end of the day.

And I can't forget the Footpath Cyclists. Someone needs to tell them that the footpath is for people to walk on and not ride a bike on.

Again, riding a bike on the footpath can also be fairly hazardous to the health of a cyclist.

Cycle safety Tauranga do a wonderful job in our schools, educating primary and intermediate children on general road safety relating to bikes and how to look after yourself on the road.

When you see children outside schools riding with no helmets, on the footpath, you have to wonder if the message is getting through.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti cyclists, in fact I am one.

It makes me angry that there are a few out there that give the good ones a bad name.

But I guess you get that in all forms of life. There are a lot of bad drivers around that give motorists a bad name.

The rules are out there for a purpose - to help save lives, whether it's doing up your seatbelt or wearing a crash helmet on your bike.

If you obey the rules, there's more likelihood you will be around a bit longer than if you didn't.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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