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Soft-hit by a car

Edited to add: I'm posting this as a reminder to cyclists about specific hazards that don't always get mentioned even in the cycling safety literature, and as a reminder to drivers to LOOK for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Altogether, drivers in Lincoln are WAY more mindful of cyclists and pedestrians than drivers in either Arizona or Texas, something for which I am grateful every day.

That said, yesterday my streak of never having been hit by a car while bicycling came to an end. Fortunately, the incident was very minor and, as has happened when other bicycles have come into contact with me, the car basically bounced off the Jolly Roger. This happened while I was on a bike path that basically encouraged wrong-way sidewalk riding. The driver looked straight at me but didn't see me - I saw her turn and look at me, then turn her head to look at traffic in the other direction, all while her car was completely blocking the poorly-delineated bike/ped crosswalk. I probably should have known better, but it looked like I had the go-ahead despite the warning flags. She started to accelerate just as I crossed in front of her minivan, so I started to scream and tried to accelerate as well to get clear. I managed to get all but the back wheel completely clear of the car before impact; my left pannier cushioned the blow, and she managed to slow down enough that the car just knocked the rear wheel to the side while I landed both feet on the ground on either side of the bike, upright. At that point, I just shouted, "JESUS CHRIST!" shook my head angrily, and kept riding. These incidents never make it into a police report.

Maybe in the future she will heed crosswalk markings. In the future I will avoid such paths and be more cautious at such crossings. I would rather be out riding in traffic than on a path like that one, but I only figured that out after I'd ridden out to this particular path and committed myself to riding along it.

I wanted to go around 70 miles total, but my spirit gave up after 40.



( 6 remarks — Remark )
Mar. 23rd, 2015 01:17 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you're okay!
Mar. 23rd, 2015 01:20 pm (UTC)
Gah. I'm glad you're all right.
Mar. 23rd, 2015 02:32 pm (UTC)
Man, we need, like, lights that flash so brightly you can see them with your eyes closed, so people can't not see us.
I'm glad you and the JR are fine. Still, yargh.
Mar. 23rd, 2015 06:21 pm (UTC)
Driver Didn't See You
This is too often the case. But I suspect that drivers sometimes do see us but their brain does not register us as a viable concern, threat or risk because of competing distractions and business of driving; going too fast! I don't see drivers scanning ahead in potential dangerous areas or exhibiting due caution that one would expect. Even cars with cycles on roof or rack, speed down with abandon to our local trailhead blithely not concerned with the reality that it's about a 10-15 mph area because of cyclists and peds and lack of clear sight-views. Glad you're OK! Jim Duncan
Mar. 24th, 2015 02:04 am (UTC)
Have you ever read John Forrester's "Effective Cycling"?
One of his (controversial) claims is that separate bike paths are about 10x as safe as riding on the road in traffic, but riding on the road in traffic is about 100x as safe as bike paths that regularly intersect roads coz we're not where they expect us to be.
There have been a lot of questions raised about whether the ntsb data support his thesis, or whether he went looking for numbers to bolster his conviction that we should be in traffic.
Mar. 24th, 2015 06:38 am (UTC)

I haven't read it, but my experience clearly supports the notion, and is perhaps more pointed because it happened even though I'm far from a naive cyclist.
( 6 remarks — Remark )

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