It’s Health’n’Safety Gorn … Actually, that Would have Been Quite Sensible now I come to Think of it

My neighbour and I were bemoaning the way considerations of health and safety in modern life have eliminated all risky activities even for those people who were quite willing to undergo them. ‘Whatever happened to putting up a sign saying “enter at your own risk”?’ my neighbour asked, and you have to be fair, she’s got a point. One of the barriers to organising a group bike ride is that the ride leader – even if all he or she has done is advertise the ride and suggested that people might like to come along – should really have liability insurance in case anyone gets hurt. ‘Maybe we should make all people NOT taking part in thse things sign a waiver saying that they understand that by not doing so and leading a sedentary lifestyle, they have opened themselves up to a risk of a heart attack before they’re sixty,’ I suggested, and how we laughed, because frankly we don’t get out much round here in the country.

Well, we laughed then, but all of this came back to haunt me today when I reached the bottom of the big hill (and it’s a big, big hill) on the way to Bigtown this morning, and realised that neither of my two companions were behind me. My friend’s daughter – being 13 and thus, as every teenager knows, immortal – had overtaken her mother at speed, wobbled on seeing an approaching car, and come a spectacular cropper. The car wasn’t involved but the tarmac was and she had to be scooped up by a passing van and driven home. Fortunately my friend is of the ‘get back on the horse’ school of mothering and once she was sure her daughter wasn’t too seriously injured, perfectly relaxed about the whole thing. But I was mortified. Normally I’m a cautious descender, but the hill was one I knew well, the road was wide, and I’ve been watching way too much of the Tour de France. I should have known that shooting off at speed down low over the handlebars wasn’t going to set a good example to a youngster. Sometimes, you can be too much in touch with your inner child…

Anyway, she’s fine, I was relieved to hear and I’m chastened, and hopefully it won’t be the end of our rides together. I can’t really see anyone suing anyone else over anything around here, so I’m not really that worried about waivers or insurance – but I can see that I’m going to have to be a tiny bit more grown up about my riding in the future.

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6 Responses to It’s Health’n’Safety Gorn … Actually, that Would have Been Quite Sensible now I come to Think of it

  1. Amaranthine says:

    Only in company…..

  2. Dom says:

    I’ll keep an eye out for the Daily Mail article detailing your ‘wilful endangerment’ of our nations youth and the inevitable calls for proper training and vetting, not to mention licensing of bike ride organisers before anyone else gets hurt, or worse, killed. In the mean time I suggest you start implementing the following:

    No cycling over 4mph
    No cycling on surfaces that will injure on impact
    No cycling with minors, or vulnerable people
    No cycling in areas with hills or excessive slopes
    No cycling in areas where you will encounter, among other things cars, tractors and other motor vehicles

  3. disgruntled says:

    You forgot ‘no fun’

  4. The Paper Boy says:

    It was implied, but not stated.

  5. When I came home with bruises and bloody knees at the age of 5 or 6, my mum said: “Good that you weren’t wearing long trousers! Then I would have to mend them, but the bruises heal on their own.”

    However, she did get a shock recently when we visited the town again where we lived when I was 4 to 8, and I told her that we used to sneak into an underground car park through the bars in the gate; inside was a button to raise the gate. If somebody had pushed the button while we were climbing through, the gate would have crushed us. So perhaps some Health and Safety isn’t too bad after all? They now added wire mesh (and presumably added clever safety electronics) to make this impossible.

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