Monday, November 21, 2011

Safe and dangerous

Being a suburban bike-commuter I have to share road with cars and I don't have convenience of bike lanes since there simply aren't any. Fortunately, a part of my route has a really wide shoulder, which essentially substitutes a bike lane. This is the easiest and safest part of my daily ride.
On the other hand, I have to cross I-95, a major highway. This means riding along a line of cars while many of them enter the ramp to the highway on my right. As you can imagine, those cars must either wait for me to clear the access to the ramp or speed up and pass in front of me to enter the highway.
So far, most of the drivers were courteous enough to let me go first but sometimes I encounter an impatient one who puts me in danger of being right-hooked. This is clearly the most dangerous and most stressful part of my morning commute and unfortunately, there is no bike-friendly way of crossing this highway. I noticed that most drivers are well-behaved yet you can imagine that they may drive carelessly in the morning traffic when everyone rushes to work.

The accident that happened this year in Poland, on September 9th, reminds me how dangerous this situation can possibly be. A CCTV camera in the city bus captured the moment when a minivan driver right-hooked a cyclist while attempting to enter the ramp on the right. The cyclist survived but ended up with multiple fractures of his collar bone and ear injury resulting in partial loss of hearing. Worse, 2 months later the driver still remains unidentified.
And what is the most dangerous part of your bike-commute?


  1. I can't believe they didn't find the culprit yet. You would think they could blow up the video to get the license plate number. Something tells me they don't really want to find the culprit - in order to blame the cyclist and keep other cyclists off the road out of fear.

  2. Apparently, the video quality was too low to read the license plate (Where are those fancy CSI computers when you need them? "Enhance it!"). But they know it was a navy blue Renault Scenic.

    There are some conspiracy theories that the driver was a policeman. That's why police does nothing to find out who it really was.

    There were also some comments on internet that "the cyclist did nothing to prevent this accident". Not sure what he was supposed to do. Take off and fly away?