We often discuss the effects that the rampant popularity of cars and SUVs has had on pedestrian death rates, but another related and important stat to look at is cyclist death rates. A look into these may point to a decrease in 2020, but when you account for the lower amount of driving we did, it’s still concerning.
This prompts me to ask: What’s a close call you’ve had crashing with a car while riding your bicycle?
I don’t do much road cycling, mostly for two reasons: Road bikes can cost a ton of money, and drivers in my city do not respect bicyclists very much. At best they treat bike riders as a mild nuisance, and at worst they will just pretend the cyclists aren’t even there, forcing these folks to scoot the hell over which puts them in unsafe situations a lot of the time.
In fact, most people here are so oblivious to the rules of the road concerning bicycles that it’s mostly not even known that bikes belong on the road at all. I’ll see a lot of people riding their bikes on sidewalks here, which would upset me if there weren’t absolutely zero people walking on the sidewalk, anyway.
Walkability is not a highlight of my hometown, nor those nearby. That mostly extends to cycling, too.
And this is unfortunate because what it means is that neither drivers nor cyclists are aware of what these rules are, increasing the risks bike riders take.
To be clear: Bicycles do not belong on the sidewalk, but I get why people do it. Still, it perpetuates a cycle (sorry) whereby drivers think the road belongs to them, so that when they see a bike rider on the road they gasp in disbelief of the cyclist’s audacity.
Of course, any encounter between an automobile and a bicycle is wildly mismatched. There’s not much a cyclist can do to defend themselves against two tons of metal and glass barreling at them. So drivers should be mindful of bicyclists, even if some of these bike riders are admittedly jerks.
Again, I’ve avoided close calls by simply not riding on the road at all, but I want to hear about your dangerous encounters with drivers while cycling. What’s a close call you’ve had on your bicycle?