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Seriously injured cyclist warns others to STOP, THINK and DON’T run a red light

Craig Dortkamp, an experienced cyclist, had never encountered any problems with other road users or suffered any accidents. But that all changed when Craig cycled through a red light in the City in May – suffering serious injuries as a result.

Reflecting on his experience, Craig said: “It’s so easy not to consider the consequences, but I don’t think I will ever go through a red light again.”​​​​​

​On Friday 17th May, Craig was cycling to work during rush hour traffic at about 8am.  As Craig approached the junction of Holborn Circus the traffic lights were showing red indicating for him to stop.

Craig failed to stop at the red light and as a result found himself in the middle of a busy junction with cars travelling in all different directions. 

As he struggled to get out of the way of oncoming traffic he cycled into a taxi.  Craig, who was not wearing a helmet, crashed into the rear side of the taxi and his head went through the side window smashing the glass completely. 

Craig sustained a serious cut to his head which went down to the bone.  He required surgery and over 200 stitches. He also suffered smaller cuts to his face, two black eyes and bruising to his neck. 

On this occasion Craig was very lucky he did not sustain more severe injuries.  He hopes that by publicising his experience it will encourage other cyclists to stop, think and not to go through red traffic lights.

Craig offered advice to other cyclists: “Be sensible, don’t take unnecessary risks, don’t run through a red light – you don’t know what is around the corner.

“I hope I don’t see any other cyclists running through a red light. If you don’t take that risk your chances of being hit by a vehicle are much slimmer and you probably won’t end up with scars on your face for the rest of your life like me.”  

Going through a red traffic light is a Road Traffic Act offence that applies to all road users, including cyclists. However many cyclists continue to ride through them.  Ignoring these signals can be hazardous for other road users and pedestrians and equally puts you as the cycle rider at risk. Between April 2012 and March 2013 145 cyclists were injured in the City, 21 seriously. 

If a cyclist is caught going through a red light they will be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) which carries a £30 fine.  Last year over 3,000 fines were given to cyclists for traffic offences in the Square Mile. Of these, nine out of 10 were issued to cyclists who went through a red light.

Craig hopes his experience will both act as a warning to cyclists while encouraging them to take a moment and wait at red lights.  Pausing for those extra few seconds while the lights change to green could be the difference between you reaching your destination safely or being involved in a collision.

Craig is now back cycling to work, with the addition of a helmet which he wears every day.​​​​

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