A RATHDOWNEY cyclist has vowed never to cycle alone on busy roads again after a trip from Templemore to Borris-in-Ossory left him shaken.
Mick Creagh says he has always been interested in staying fit and healthy and in recent years has taken up walking and cycling.
“But as I have recently discovered as I took to the highways and byways of our green and fertile land on my bike my body and soul might not be together much longer if the Irish motorist has his way,” Mr Creagh said.
Recently, the Rathdowney man had to leave his car into a garage in Templemore for the day for some repairs and decided to put his bike in the boot and cycle home rather than have someone collect him.
“At the moment I am training for the Easy Riders Charity Cycle in September and I thought this will be a nice chance to get in a good spin,” he said.
However, Mr Creagh’s idea of a “good spin” soon turned into a terrifying experience at the hands of the Irish motorist.
“By the time I had completed that cycle I was as they say “not worth tuppence.” I was so shaken by the time I got home that I decided there and then that I am not going cycling on busy roads again, ever, on my own. I feel at least that there might be safety in numbers,” he said.
Despite wearing a good quality high visibility jacket, Mr Creagh claims that few cars left a safe distance between him and their car as they passed him.
“Only the odd one bothered to move over to the other side of the white line. In most cases I could feel the backdraft of their cars and trucks as they barely skimmed by me. Drivers passed me even when there was oncoming traffic. Drivers passed me on bends. Drivers passed me as I was driving by those traffic calming islands coming into Roscrea. One driver passed me on my left leaving a roundabout in Borris-in Ossory even though I had my left arm out to show I was taking the same exit.”
But the Rathdowney man says he is not just having a go at drivers for the sake of it.
“I do more driving than cycling myself. I am just reacting to my personal experience of going out on the Irish roads these days on a bike. I wish all drivers would just stop for one minute and think how vulnerable that man, woman or child is on their bike as you pass them by in a couple of tons of steel. Just imagine if it was your own brother, sister, son or daughter you were passing on the road would you be so careless,” he said.
And Mr Creagh points out that the cyclist also has to obey the rules of the road and take due responsibility for their own safety.
Mr Creagh pleaded with motorists to show more consideration for cyclists and walkers.
“It’s you yourself who will have to live with the consequences if you come too close to my bike,” he said.