They couldn’t know it, but everything was about to change.
At the right turn junction, career and motherhood juggling Alison India Meares watched for the red light to turn amber, while trying to zone out from the noise her over-indulged kids were making in the back of her red Jeep Cherokee with the personalized plates. In front of her, in the green zone, she noticed a cyclist with a fluorescent yellow jacket, also waiting and trying to remain patient. His name was Gordon Hewitt.
Alison turned around in her seat to speak sharply to her quarrelling offspring, and Gordon put his weight onto his right foot on the pedal and looked in all directions in anticipation of the amber light. There was no traffic coming from the right, and perhaps he briefly considered moving off, but whether out of caution or respect for law, he didn’t. At the same time, however, another cyclist, James Vine, also in a fluorescent yellow jacket, rode up towards the junction and passed on the left side of Alison’s car. As he rode through the stubbornly red stop light Vine nudged the teetering Hewitt slightly, who fell to the ground inches from the towering front of Alison’s car.
Vine failed to notice this, or perhaps he did but thought little of it, but instead rode at speed across the junction and on his way.
Alison, preoccupied with her troublesome children, also could not have noticed this, and when she turned back to face front all she saw was a yellow cyclist riding away and the lights turning amber. Anxious to be moving off as the lights turned green she hurriedly stamped on the clutch, slammed first gear, released the handbrake and checked her mirror, all in time for the green light, and before Gordon Hewitt had had time to get to his feet and back onto his bike.
The car’s front left wheel snapped his left leg and buckled his rear bicycle wheel before she registered that she was accelerating over something. Gordon’s head hit the front bumper then the tarmac in quick succession, before the right wheel crunched his right wrist.
Alison slammed on the brakes leaving him trapped underneath the car and, panicking, she then reversed back, causing further injuries. She remembered noticing the yellow cyclist way up and puzzled over what she could possibly have run over, but the confusion turned to nausea when she got out and saw the contorted and dismembered mess in front of her.
It took only a few hours for James Vine to be tracked down, starting with the surveillance cameras watching the junction. He admitted crashing the lights, but lied about it being the first time he’d done that – in fact it was his usual practice. He remembered seeing the other cyclist waiting, but refused to admit nudging him, even accidentally..
Alison Mears, on the other hand, was convicted of careless driving, appealed, and lost, and has never driven again. She sold her beloved Jeep.
A year later the Highways Authority erected a traffic sign at the junction, warning cyclists to stop at a red light, like other road users. Almost straight away surveillance cameras recorded a hooded figure at night apparently vandalizing the sign’s pole, scratching something on it with a chisel.
‘Gordon Hewitt, Dad, murdered here, will be avenged’.
It was too expensive to replace it and pointless to try and paint over it. You had to get up close close to read it anyway – but there it was, and possibly still is.
Gordon Hewitt’s orphaned but now well-off daughter Zoe left her bike on the patio to rust, learnt to drive as soon as she was seventeen, and eventually found just the right 4×4 to buy.
After four years James Vine had found the courage to start cycling again, and every Sunday morning rode the eight miles around Richmond Park. Zoe followed him most times, occasionally circuiting the park in the opposite direction. She waited patiently for the perfect opportunity.
He didn’t see it coming, and had little time to scream for his splintering bones, but his final vision was a fat red grille and the letters AIM as the Jeep’s tyre reversed back over his neck.