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by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

Last week, whilst driving down one of the rural roads where I live, I saw a cyclist ahead of me (we have hundreds). As we approached a junction, he pulled across in front of me – without warning.

Don’t worry there was no accident and as I pulled up near him I said, politely “you need to remember the live saver glance over the right shoulder”. His response “sorry I didn’t hear you”.

To many of you that may seem ok, he didn’t hear me, he said sorry and no harm was done. And it’s true – no one has an accident until they have an accident.

Four years ago, it was a different story for the cyclist that did ride across the road in front of me, I knocked him down. He was lucky, my reactions had saved him from either being seriously injured or worse. He, though, having been seduced by a ‘no win, no fee’ claim company, thought he would be ‘quid’s in’ as we say in the UK. He was rubbing his hands expecting a nice bit of compensation. Cut a long story short, with the backing of my insurers, we went to court. He didn’t get a pay-out and was sent scampering after being told it was abundantly clear he hadn’t looked in the direction of the traffic before riding across the road, and more importantly, was lucky to be alive.

Back to last week. It struck me that in life many people will cite an excuse for acts that could end in tears. It’s like the person that walks across the road with headphones on whilst tapping a message into their phone – they obviously haven’t been killed yet! The intelligent amongst us would take more care.

An accident by definition is:

  1. an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.
  2. an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause

Which says to me – avoidable. Doing something that you have done time and time again without an ‘accident’ or issue doesn’t make right. There was a time when cars were few and far between, had a top speed of 10mph and made a noise similar to an airplane and industrial sized kettle. You could live by hearing alone.

Times change – we have electric cars which, when you take away the soft tyre rumble on tarmac, are as good as silent. Leaves rustling in the trees make more of a din. Looking over the shoulder is now the motorcyclist and pedal cyclist’s life saver.

Times also change for businesses, once upon a time, telephone cold calling was a prerequisite for most sales roles. Today it isn’t – it’s a poor, ineffective way to drum up business. The sales manager or CEO that instructs their teams to telephone cold call are the cyclist relying on hearing alone.

One day they will probably come a ‘cropper’.

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