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Use Some Common Sense to Avoid Tragedy

Jun 21, 2017 | Health and Life Style

The paper today carried a front page story about a local cyclist who was killed by a car. Two cars, actually. I’ll get to that.

It’s such a tragedy. He had just recently graduated college, his friends say he wanted to make the world a better place. The first car that hit him, kept going. Then a second car hit him. That driver stopped, though, and called the police. Had the first driver done that, he might have lived.

So many drivers don’t even look out for bikes, either because it’s just not a habit they’ve gotten into or, in some sad cases, because they don’t care.

This happened around 10:30 PM last night. That’s 10:30 at night. I have seen cyclists when I’m driving at night, though never that late. I can usually see them from a good ways off because they make themselves visible. My headlights reflect off their jerseys and the reflective plates in the wheels. Most of the ones I’ve seen also had a flashing light attached to the back of their shorts, facing the cars coming up behind them. It’s hard to miss that. Some have a headlight, too, or a flight on their helmet. And I still think they shouldn’t be doing it. I still think it’s way too risky.

In the case of this boy who was killed yesterday, neither he nor his bike had anything reflective on them, and he carried no light, front or back. Now, it’s still the driver’s fault, if only because he left the scene. But I’d say there’s a very good chance he didn’t even see the bike until he hit it. And none of this in any way diminishes the tragedy, but honestly, the boy was playing Russian roulette.

Cycle safely! You are not invulnerable! Even during the day you should wear reflective gear, even a full orange safety vest. Ride on roads with a shoulder. And when there is a car coming up behind you, ride single file! Biking safely is the main thing, but so is biking courteously.

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