A selection of recent news items in 2013, concerning bicycles losing control.
In Hull –
Police said the bicycle lost control, span round and hit the lamppost opposite the Holiday Inn.
In Croydon –
The London Fire Brigade told the Advertiser the bicycle lost control, flipped over and hit the two pedestrians
In Nantwich –
Father-of-three Rob was killed after his bicycle lost control and hit a tree at 55mph on Marsh Lane, Nantwich.
In North Wales –
Eyewitnesses told how the bicycle lost control on the A548, struck a kerb before careering through the air, across the central reservation and smashed into the AdHoc building. On the way it also destroyed a tree, sign, fence and lamppost.
In Bromsgrove –
A bicycle towing a catering unit on the A448 near Dodford crashed into a road bridge over a stream and a second bicycle lost control, left the road and went into the stream below.
In John O’Groats –
A bicycle lost control on the A836 Thurso to Castletown road at Murkle when it landed into the garden of a property at 11.55am
In Davistow –
The porch of a house in North Cornwall was completely destroyed at the weekend after a bicycle lost control on the A39 and careered into the building.
In Callington –
A woman had a lucky escape after her bicycle lost control, hit a hedge and flipped near to Callington today.
In West Sussex –
She and her friend had watched in horror as a bicycle lost control on a bend and slid down a hill on its side, crashing into two cars in its path
In Rugby –
Oliver, 17, died during the crash when a bicycle lost control and collided with a lamppost just after 4.30pm.
In Greater Manchester –
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police told Saddleworth News: “At approximately 3.30pm this afternoon, a bicycle lost control and crashed into a ditch on the A635 Road above Greenfield, it ended up shedding its load of scrap metal. Thankfully no one has been injured.”
In Southend –
A WOMAN had to be cut free from her bicycle after a collision in Southend. The crash happened at 8.40pm on Monday in Eastern Avenue. Firefighters worked to cut her free after another bicycle lost control and ended up on the wrong side of the carriageway.
In Kent –
Dale West was riding a silver Batavus when his bicycle lost control and was involved in a collision with a lorry parked in a layby on the opposite carriageway.
In Bromsgrove (again) –
A bicycle lost control and smashed into a tree during an early morning Bromsgrove Highway crash.
In Tyrone –
One man remains seriously injured in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after a bicycle lost control on the A5 Omagh to Newtownstewart Road on Sunday.
By now you’ll have probably guessed that a bicycle was not involved in any of these incidents.
As we all know, bicycles do not ‘lose control’. They are controlled by human beings.
All I have done, in each of these news items, is to exchange the word ‘car’, ‘van’ or ‘lorry’ for ‘bicycle’, to demonstrate the absurdity of the conventional phrasing, so commonly used in news items – impersonal language that denies agency. Motor vehicles do not lose control. People lose control of them, with disastrous, and often fatal, consequences.
What’s also interesting about these stories is how the carnage, injury and death seem quite farcical when the mode of transport involved is the humble bicycle. Bicycles do not career through the air, smash into buildings, or crush pedestrians. They’re really quite safe, and when people do lose control of them, the consequences are quite mundane when compared to the consequences detailed in these news items.