Monday, May 5, 2008

Close Calls and One Pissed Off Cyclist

A member of my team was hit by a car recently. The driver of a truck turned left in front of her and she t-boned it. Her collar bone is broken and she has a lot painful bruising. She’ll be off the bike for 5 weeks.

This same scenario plays out often. I remember one instance a couple years ago in Charlotte. The difference: the cyclist was going down a hill and the vehicle turning left was a city bus. The cyclist died on impact, and the media (including the TV Station I work for) instantly assumed it was the cyclists fault.

And it never seems like charges are filed and if they are, then it’s little more than a slap on the wrist. You just killed someone! And no one is going to hold you accountable. That is appalling to me. I will mention, however that all Charlotte city buses now have a 6 inch by 6 inch sticker on the back that says, “Share the Road.” Gee, thanks. A 6 inch sticker on a mass transit bus really stands out. I feel much safer now.

This kind of shit happens way too often to cyclists. I have close calls all the time and I imagine it’s just a matter of “when” it happens and not “if.”

Take yesterday for instance. I was coming down a hill into the town of McAddenville. My light was green and I was turning right when an old lady decided to run her red light and very nearly take me out. I was able to cut my turn sharper than I had intended without laying the bike down. I ended up very close to her passenger side screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK?” The driver turned her head toward me like she was surprised to see me then quickly turned her head away and drove off with out so much as any gesture of remorse for almost killing me.

It was a good thing I had been slowing down for the turn. Had I been going straight through the intersection, it would have been a very bad day for me. It disgusts me that some humans are so desensitized that the thought of killing someone don’t seem to bother them. Like the bus driver. He’s still driving a bus. How does he not have flashbacks to robbing another person of his life because of a mistake all his own? How does he live with himself?

Why is it ok to run a cyclist off the road? Because maybe you’ll just hurt ‘em enough to prove your point? And that point being what? And why is that a rational decision to so many?

I will never be sympathetic to people who can rationalize the hurting or killing of cyclists.

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