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Cycling – sometimes at your own risk

August 14, 2015

On the afternoon of August 12 in Helsinki a cyclist and a motorist apparently exchanged words and insults and when all was said and done, the cyclist was dead.

I heard about this story from the Mr. yesterday and I was shocked when he told me that the cyclist had been intentionally run down. The driver of the car was apparently so angry that witnesses stated he intentionally hit the cyclist, who suffered serious head injuries. He later died of his injuries in hospital. The driver fled the scene, but was arrested by police. He now faces charges of serious traffic offences and aggravated manslaughter. (I personally hope he never has the privilege of driving ever again.) The police have indicated that an incident such as this is very rare in Finland and remain tight-lipped about the circumstances of the incident.

A large group of cyclists held a “ghost bike” memorial for the cyclist yesterday in Helsinki.

The Mr. took the opportunity to remind me to keep a grip on my nerves when riding = don’t flip the bird (aka – showing the middle finger) while riding. I told him that in fact I would never do that, but I do yell when when I get really displeased with a motorist.

Just the other day I was on my bike waiting to cross the road where there was a double-lane for oncoming traffic. Finnish driving law stipulates that if a driver in one lane stops for a pedestrian, drivers in the neighbouring lane must also stop. The driver in the right lane stopped – I waited – because three more cars blew by him (!!!)… When the fourth driver stopped, she basically slammed on her brakes. I waved to the driver who had first stopped for me and proceeded. Honest and true, the only person you can trust is yourself.

I find that cyclists overall are getting a little better on the roads, more riders are signalling to other riders what they’re doing (i.e turning) and thank drivers who stop for them with a wave. The drivers wave back. 🙂

There are still some rude folks out there, however. Some cyclist barked at the Little Miss to get out of the way a few weeks ago… <sigh>

The actions of the motorist in Helsinki on August 12 resulted in the needless death of another person – and for what? If you find yourself infuriated by a cyclist or motorist or a pedestrian – breathe and count to 10!

Just ride safe, be aware and give young kids a break – it takes time for them to learn!

On Sunday, August 16, there will be a ride to raise awareness of road rage and protest against it.

RIP to the cyclist who needlessly lost his life in Helsinki. He was someones’ friend and family member.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sonia permalink
    August 14, 2015 10:14 pm

    True – I wonder why is it so hostile. Driving was so peaceful when I first came here in the 90s.

    Passing by a car, which stands in front of a pedestrian way is an offense anywhere else too and it should be fined by päiväsakot – but who and how should supervise it? It happens to me while giving way to pedestrians or bikers nearly weekly.

    The change must happen in Finns’ heads that pedestrians have priority. Full stop. I haven’t seen such behavior – in Western Europe at least – that pedestrians are scared to cross the street or don’t dare to do so. Or just take the risk. With a reason. Why do pedestrians here thank you when you give way (which is quite nice gesture)? Or give way to you as a driver? Because. Just recently a child was hit in Pasila, because the second lane driver was passing by.

    On the other hand, there is an inflationary use of pedestrian crossings “by the book” thus there may be one every 100 meters, not marked by paint, so it’s simply disregarded.

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