An Aberdeen cyclist, who narrowly avoided being crushed to death when a lorry knocked him off his bike in a cycle lane outside a school, has launched a one-man campaign to make cycle lanes safe to use.
Chris Walker won the backing of Thompsons Solicitors who helped him win compensation after the accident in Albyn Place, outside Harlaw Academy, Aberdeen.
Mr Walker, a technician said: “I went out of my way to cycle home using the cycle lane in Albyn Place, thinking it would give me some protection.
“Let’s not pretend that cycle lanes marked by a broken line are safe, because they give cyclists no legal protection from other road users.
“They are often too narrow and littered with parked vehicles potholes and protruding metal covers to such an extent that they might as well not be there!”
Mr Walker was stuck by a motorway maintenance lorry which pulled into the cycle lane without warning and knocked him off his bike.
He went flying over an elderly pedestrian and smashed the thumb on his left hand suffering concussion cuts and bruises.
He added: “I was wearing a high visibility vest, helmet and gloves, but the driver while alongside failed to see me when he pulled in to the kerb and sent my flying.
“My helmet broke in five places but saved my head from serious injury.
“I don’t know to this day how I avoided being crushed to death under the lorry’s rear wheels.
“I have been cycle commuting on a touring bike for over thirty years without incident, but I won’t do it again unless the authorities get serious about making cycle lanes safe to use.
“Perhaps if they can’t be made safe then the money would be better spent on repairing potholes which could help cyclists and other road users too”.
Since his accident he has established that some of Aberdeen’s cycle lanes are barely 18” wide and some of them are littered with potholes and protruding drain covers.
Chris Gordon, Thompsons Managing Partner in Aberdeen said: “We agree with Mr Walker that national and local government have to work harder at making our roads safer for cyclists.
“Thirty per cent more people are taking to cycling to avoid congestion and improve their health, but ironically we are seeing more and more cases of clients involved in serious and even fatal cycling accidents”.
Thompsons Solicitors represented Olympic hopeful Jason MacIntye’s widow Caroline at the fatal accident inquiry into his death after he was struck by a council lorry while he was on a training run near his Fort William home.
Six of Thompsons’ staff including Aberdeen based solicitor Roz Galloway have signed up for a cycle training course to help them deal with cases involving cyclists.