Bike vs car

October 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Car always wins. That’s what my dad-in-law, an avid cyclist, always says. On Sunday, a 53-year-old was killed on his bike just down the street from us. We passed his memorial while biking to the Y this week, and it brought tears to my eyes. He was wearing his helmet, in the bike lane, obeying all the rules. It was a kid who hit him, an 18-year-old who was charged with a DUI. It happened in broad daylight. The man had a wife and three kids.

Liam and I never ride in this particular bike lane. The street is far too busy, there are too many big trucks, and people speed. I’m hyper-vigilant about crossing intersections. Just the other day I saw a woman pulling up out of our subdivision, and I stopped to make sure she saw me. She was quite shocked to see us when she looked up, clearly checking her phone as she pulled up to the crosswalk. This happens a lot. And it’s particularly difficult to be certain I’m seen because everyone down here has their windows tinted.

When I’m on my bike, I feel like all the drivers are maniacs. But when I’m in my car, I feel like the bikers are reckless. I like to think, as a driver, I’m particularly careful about turning through the cross walk. In DC, I once got grazed by a driver paying no attention to anyone trying to cross as she turned right. But today, I nearly hit a kid on her bike while I was turning out of my subdivision. Thankfully I paused to look right before I turned and hit the brake. It’s a really terrible spot — shrubs hiding the view of the sidewalk as you pull up, and no light, so people are always pulling way out to be able to see. People making left turns block your view when you’re turning right, so you end up sitting impatiently trying to see. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you haven’t checked the crosswalk in awhile. So many people ride bikes down here. Especially the middle school and high school kids. Very nerve-wracking for drivers.

Even when I remember to check, I’ve been fooled. One morning, a woman coming from the left side rode right into my blind spot just as I was pulling up. Thankfully my passenger saw her and gave me a heads up. But not before I started to go and scared us both to death!

Yes, cars win. But that’s not a contest I’d want to win.

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