In this post, I talked about Seattle’s efforts to improve bicycle safety. I mentioned that the busiest part of a key road was not striped, thanks to pressure from a local real estate baron who didn’t want business disrupted. This created a dangerous gauntlet to run as bikers left the bike lane to start their long, hard slog uphill. I’m happy to report that the city has since reconsidered, and it has made a world of difference for safety.
Which gives me the opportunity to tell the story of how I got hit by a car.
A young man was killed a few months ago by a right-turning truck just four blocks from where I was nailed. It was raining, and the driver just didn’t see me. I’m usually careful not to let myself get in a position where a driver can hit me even if he or she wants to. I was in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time.
The driver stopped for a few seconds after the collision, but then she just drove off without even getting out of the car. This didn’t sit well with me, so I followed her. What ensued next was a low-speed chase through the neighborhood. However, thanks to traffic, stoplights, and a hybrid electric bike that can do over 30 mph in a pinch, she was unable to shake me. She finally gave it up and parked just a few blocks from where the chase had started. I pulled up behind her and waited.
Apparently, she had been thinking all the while about how she was going to explain this — and she decided not to try. She got out of the car, managing not to look in my direction, and quickly walked into a nearby house. I got the picture and let it go. I also got a chance to inspect the dent I had put in her car just above the gas cap. I don’t blame her for hitting me. It was an accident. I probably should have reported her for leaving, but what the hey. I doubt she slept well, wondering if I had reported her.
I’m not going to sugarcoat the reality. Without the political will and foresight to create safe bicycle infrastructure, bicycle fatalities will climb right along with the number of cyclists.