Safety message to drivers after cyclist’s ‘near death’ experience

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Drivers are being urged to be cyclist-aware after a Barcaldine cyclist had ‘a near death experience’ with a fast car that wiped him off his bike.

Leighn Chambers, a rider with North Argyll Cycle Club (NACC) was left battered and bruised after the incident 300 miles into a gruelling 1,5000 mile endurance race that started out from Lockerbie.

Leighn, who escaped serious injury, had to pull out of the race after he was hit by the car near Unthank in Northumberland.

NACC’s Steven Groom said: ‘Ninety nine per cent of cars are very careful and courteous but the nought point nought one per cent is very scary and so selfish.

‘I think there will be a never ending debate about cyclists and cars but we’d urge all drivers to be cyclist aware and remember that on every bike is a son, daughter, mum, dad, husband or wife.’

He added: ‘Leighn was wearing yellow and three lots of flashing red lights when it happened.’

Leighn’s partner Carolyn Chambers is due to set off her own epic off-road journey in a couple of weeks.

Recent figures show at least three cyclists every week suffer serious injuries on Scotland’s roads.

A Cycling Scotland survey suggests two thirds of people in Scotland are unaware it is a careless driving offence for motorists to close-pass a cyclist. Close-pass means overtaking with less than 1.5 metres space or a car’s width.

If the case is brought to court, drivers can be given three points and fined up to £100 or get a criminal conviction for more serious offences.

In sports news, North Argyll Cycle Club’s Shona Maclachlan and Heather Shanks represented the club at the Scottish National Women’s Road Race Championships on Saturday July 24.

This was their first competitive road race, against some high calibre riders, but both finished strongly with Heather taking ninth position and Shona in 15th overall.

Heather Shanks is a relatively new member to North Argyll Cycle Club, having joined earlier this year, encouraged by the club’s focus on women’s cycling. Having competed in mountain bike racing many years ago, the club’s support has helped Heather venture into group road rides.

After hearing through the club about the Scottish National Road Race Championships, she signed up for the event in Alford, Aberdeenshire. It was a tough 51km course with more than 900m climbing, twice over Suie Hill. Shona Maclachlan is one of the strongest female NACC members, having been part of the club for four years. She also represents the Torvelo Racing team.