Tuesday morning (10/21/08) at about 6:50 am I witnessed a cyclist taken
down by a car that didn’t see her. The cyclist was doing everything
right — helmet, lights, etc — but still was nearly hit. The
cyclist was coming down NE Knott and a car coming from a side street to
the cyclist’s right did not see the cyclist and pulled out in front
of her. It was a foggy morning and many drivers look for car lights and
forget to look for cyclist lights. I was coming the other direction, saw
the cyclist and thought the car was going to pull out in front of the
cyclist (and did). The cyclist did nothing wrong and still almost got hit.
I have been watching runners, cyclists and walkers more since the accident.
Many are doing the right thing and wearing protective clothing, lights,
helmet (cyclists), etc. But a lot have nothing on — which my brother
says “they must have nothing to protect” (especially referring
to cyclists not wearing helmets).
The key for me is not just the front headlight on a bike but something
to get the driver’s attention. Many cyclists, runners, and walkers
are wearing something to be seen IF someone is looking. For my own safety,
I like to wear things to get the driver’s attention — front,
back and side visibility. Probably because of all the injuries we see
at work (bicycle accidents, car accidents, etc) I am a believer in the
“Christmas Tree” mentality. I often use so many pieces of
reflective gear my sister says “I look like a Christmas Tree.”
I do it because drivers often only look for car headlights and not cyclists,
runners or walkers. When I run or walk when it is dark I wear a
reflective singlet by amphipod and small
blinking clip on lights by Firefly which can be seen by motorists a mile away.
Heading into the darker months think about how visible you are and consider
adding more visibility to your current system.