Dr Hannan attacked on bike whilst cycling but still says it is important we should all continue to cycle

Dr Hannan went cycling in August 2011 in Wythenshawe. He was attacked whilst on his bike and his watch and designer spectacles were stolen. Later he was interviewed by BBC Radio Manchester about the ordeal but also went on to describe the importance of continuing to cycle as the benefits of cycling still outweigh any potential risks. Listen to the radio item below and suggestions he makes on how to stay safe on the roads too!

OK – so I can now safely say that I have been a victim of a crime too that could have been much more nasty than it was and I could have been very badly hurt. But has that stopped me cycling? No of course not! But it did make me think about what I might do to prevent this happening again and share my thoughts with other patients and the public who may be more knowledgable about these matters than me!

Firstly, I wondered if there was any general advice on the net on what I can do to keep safe when cycling. here are a few links that you may find useful too!

cBBC Quiz: Safe cycling

British Cycling: Where to Ride

Sustrans: Useful links

NHS Choices: Benefits of Cycling

It is strange though that there does not appear to be any specific advice on what cyclists can do to prevent being attacked whilst out cycling and some simple “Dos and Don’ts”. So in an attempt to provide some useful guidance, here is my top 10 tips based on nothing more than mys common sense!

  1. If you are going to go cycling then make sure you tell somebody where you are going, what route you plan to take and roughly how long you think it will take
  2. Think about what you are taking with you! Do you really need to take that expensive watch, chain, jewellery? If not take it off!
  3. Do you need to take your wallet with you or will it be OK just to take some change? If you haven’t go it, you can’t lose it!
  4. Do you need to take your wallet with all your credit cards and lots of money? Or will a small amount of change be enough?
  5. What about your mobile phone? Comes in handy if you do get attacked but what if people want to attack you to get your phone? As phones get more sophisticated (and more expensive) they become a bigger target for others too.
  6. Can you go with somebody else or with a group? It’s harder to be attacked if there is a number of people going together and you can help each other out if you have a problem or a puncture! 
  7. Even better – take your family with you. Cycling can be a lot of fun for mums, dads and children alike (and for grandmums and granddads too!). There are not many other activities that really involve the whole family doing exercises and enabling the whole family to have lots of fun too.
  8. Make sure you always wear a helmet. Do you really want to risk a head injury if you slip and fall off your bike even if it is through no fault of your own?
  9. Go on a planned and organised  local cycling excursion e.g. Sky Ride Local or Peak Cycle Links.
  10. Cycling is still a lot of fun despite the risks. Be careful, stay alert, don’t do anything silly, keep smiling and help to sustain the planet by the most environmentally friendly way to travel. That’s what makes the world go round.

I am thankful I did not get hurt – it could have been a lot worse. The police officers who came to help were fantastic and have been very helpful. We are very lucky to have people like that ready to come to us if and when the need arises. We don’t thank them enough for the work they do – sometimes under very dangerous conditions. The police officer who first came to me was telling me how she was on duty when the Salford riots took place – it was the most frightening day she has ever had and that was with full riot gear on, a shield in front of her and on duty for 15 hours! And she was back on the streets again 10 hours later to help keep the streets safe for people just like us! My wife and kids found me just before the police did (again highlights the importance of family!).  

But I hope this episode informs others about the risks as well as some of the things you can do for you and your family to keep cycling safely and enjoy the many benefits cycling still provides. If you have any other suggestions or links to websites that you would like to share then please contact us

Keep cycling!

Dr Hannan