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16-07-2017

Cyclists fall victim to drivers under the influence

In my thirties, when I lived in London, I couldn’t afford to buy or insure a car. I had bought a flat in Docklands for myself and my three-and-a-half-year-old son, but my income didn’t stretch to a car. That was OK. As you are sure to know, the public transport system in London is excellent, but as my flat was strategically located next to the Thames pathway, it wasn’t long before I invested in a bike, and started cycling to work.

Every day, I sped along the pathway and arrived fully awake and rosy cheeked in about 25 minutes, when the same journey took at least 40 minutes on the bus due to the heavy rush hour traffic. It didn’t matter if it snowed or rained, I enjoyed my ride along the Thames, and I’ve never been so fit. I love the feeling of freedom of speeding along on a bike with the wind in my face. It reminds me of when I was a little girl, but if I had had to deal with the London traffic, I think I would have stuck to the bus.

A couple of weeks ago, a shopping site I love was offering great discounts on electrically assisted bikes and I ordered one. I live halfway up a mountain, and although I can walk up without too much difficulty, riding up on a normal bike would be too much for me. After all, I’m not in my thirties any longer! However, with a little help from an electric motor, I was quite sure that I could do the six-kilometre ride into town and back before breakfast every day and improve my health.

That was until I read a story that made me cancel my order and reconsider ever getting on a bike again. A young driver under the influence of drugs knocked down a cyclist riding along the side of the road in the nearby town of Ondara, and killed him instantly. He tried to flee, but was caught quickly. Just five weeks earlier, a 28-year-old Spanish woman from another nearby town, Gandia, also under the influence, killed three cyclists on the same road. Another cyclist died in Villajoyosa, bringing the total to five in just a month.

Both these accidents happened during the early morning. These reckless drivers were still under the influence of narcotics from the night before.

In the interests of safety, I have cancelled my order, and I am sure that a lot of people will think twice about cycling on the Costa Blanca roads. Cyclists are calling for greater protection from the law, and a zero alcohol and drug rule for drivers in Spain.

Cycling tourism is very popular in this part of Spain, particularly during the winter months with our mild temperatures and scenic roads, but I think I’ll stick to the exercise bike in the gym.

Juliet Allaway

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