Here are the top five things I learned from the experience
During the morning rush hour recently, I witnessed a horrific accident involving a car and a bicyclist. Sadly, the bicyclist was at fault and wasn’t wearing a helmet. I’ve talked to my kids about the incident and I’m going to share it with you today because I think we can all learn from this sad event.
Here’s what I saw…
I was heading northbound on Lincoln and I stopped at a red light at 11th Avenue. There was one car in front of me. A female biker was heading northbound on the sidewalk next to the road way and she didn’t stop when the lights turned red. She simply kept going. When she crossed the intersection, the eastbound cars were already fully in motion and one of the cars struck her.
The biker’s body did pinwheels 20 feet into the air and she landed on the top of her head. Her bike was thrown 100 feet farther up 11th Avenue.
Everyone nearby jumped out of our cars and we called 911. The biker was nonresponsive but then she started making noises and moving. However, she was definitely severely injured, with head injuries and broken bones.
This woman was clearly a commuter. She had a dress on but no helmet.
Here are the lessons we can all learn from this tragedy:
- If you commute to work via bike, you have to wear a helmet. I don’t care if your hair gets messed up. Bring a brush. Vanity is no reason to risk your life.
- Obey traffic laws when you’re biking. It is illegal to bike on sidewalks. In fact, unless your destination is within 100 feet, if police catch you riding on a sidewalk, you’ll get a ticket. Also, obey traffic lights.
- Pay attention to all nearby traffic. Assume that drivers can’t see you. When you come to an intersection, look in every direction where a car might be approaching. Cars aren’t looking for you! You must look for them.
- When crossing an intersection, don’t move in front of vehicles without getting eye contact with the nearby drivers.
- Wear a helmet. Yes, it’s worth repeating.
Biking is fantastic exercise, good for the environment and a cheap way to get from A to B, but you also have to assume that you have a giant bullseye on your clothing, especially when you’re riding downtown.
I never, ever want to see a bicycle accident like this one again. Please be safe.