TWO teenagers who have fallen victim to road accidents have made heartfelt pleas for drivers to take care around cyclists.
The pair were speaking at a road safety event at Oaklands School in Waterlooville, organised by L&S Waste Management, highlighting the dangers posed by heavy goods vehicles.
Maisie Godden-Hall, 13, was knocked off her bike while cycling to school, and was told that a wearing a helmet saved her life.
‘As I was cycling along a car went to pull out in front of me. I pulled on my brakes, went over the handlebars and the car ran over me,’ said Maisie, 13.
‘I had a broken collar bone, three fractures in my pelvis and lost seven teeth. The doctors said if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet I would have died. Events like these are really important as not many people are fully aware of the dangers.’
Maisie’s accident happened in November 2016 in London Road in Waterlooville.
Then, the following summer, Year 11 student, Michael Newham Wnuk, was taken to hospital with facial injuries after being clipped by a car when cycling to school.
‘As a car overtook me it knocked my handlebars and sent me into the kerb,’ he said. ‘I went about a metre into the air before landing face first. I was taken to hospital and was passing in and out of consciousness.
‘It is important to educate the younger children about these dangers as not all vehicles give you the space they should. Since the accident I have even done some assemblies of my own.’
L&S Waste Management regularly runs HGVs on the region’s roads. L&S managing director, Mick Balch, added: ‘We need to educate road users so that they understand the threat vehicles pose and keep themselves safe. Children are vulnerable and today is about minimising risks. If today’s session prevents even a few of these children from being involved in an accident then it will have done its job.’
The day included workshops with children experimenting riding bicycles in different positions around the lorry to increase awareness of blind spots.
Pupils were also shown a demonstration of the increased stopping distances required for HGVs.
Lorry driver Lee Carter said: ‘It is brilliant to be able to work with the children and educate them on the blind spots. We don’t have a rear view mirror and so it is particularly dangerous for cyclists directly behind. As part of our driver safety training we go out on bikes so we can experience what it is like from a cyclist’s perspective.’
Also involved in the bike demonstrations was Darren Fells, founder of Pedal Power Training.
‘It has been great to team up with L&S to highlight the dangers of cycling close to HGVs. The key things we have looked at are about being responsible as a cyclist and ensuring you remain visible,’ said Darren.
L&S hopes to run sessions in other schools across the area.