Another cyclist death in the area yesterday.
This just a few yards away from where another cyclist died last year.
So many thoughts in my head right now. So many so fast I cant keep up with them. I dont know where to start.
What seems like a normal tragedy to others but to us cyclists is ten fold.
Of course I don’t know the details. The riders name has not yet being released. But I know that stretch of road with two deaths now in less than a year. I’ve have been on it with a bike. Its not particularly bad. But very busy. And fast as I believe the speed limit there is 45?? If I had to guess the rider was riding to work as that road is a main artery from south side Sheboygan to the Kohler Co who employs thousands. Most likely the rider worked there and the driver worked there also.
I posted the crash news on Facebook yesterday and that prompted a ton of car\driver bashing. I dont do that anymore. First off it does no good so I don’t waste my breath and we all have had that guy buzz us while on a bike. Its happened to everyone at some point. So telling everyone your personal story about the truck with huge rear side mirrors is old news. We all know that. Most of the time its driver ignorance. There is no law against that. But don’t get me wrong, sometimes its road rage and those incidents need attention.
In 2010 I got hit (but really I hit) by a car and all the car\driver bashing went crazy but the fact is, it was my fault. I ran into the car( that was going 35mph). It really hurt, I was laid up a week. But 2 seconds sooner and I could have been a statistic. So I always wait to hear the facts before I point and judge.
There are obvious factors here. The number of bike riders has tripled in the last decade. And I don’t mean the athletic riders. I mean the average Joe riding his\her hybrid to work or wherever. Its a numbers game. Theres just more bikes so naturally the bike\car accidents will go up. And they have.
I think the problem is that as those numbers rose but the current laws are not able to sustain the increased bikes. Those laws have been in effect for many years. And simply need to be changed to accommodate the increase in average Joe riders. And not just the laws but the roads also. These roads we have today just do not take a bike in mind. They leave no room for bikes. They put the bike mere inches away from a 50mph car. legally. I guess I’m stating the obvious here.
Put that scenario with increased car and increased bike traffic and its a recipe for what happened on that road twice in the last year. Its inevitable. And the rider loses to the driver every time. Every time.
As for the driver, Im sure he didnt so it on purpose. And I dont say that lightly. If he ran a red light and hit and killed someone in another car it would be some sort of manslaughter( I hate that word). So Im sure something will come of it in some court. I would think. But here everyone loses. This poor guy was driving to work and killed someone. Maybe reaching down to turn up his music or whatever. Sun in his eyes…. whatever. The driver could be a very nice and well respected man that had a momentary lapse of judgement and a life was lost. I do have a bit of upsetting news tho. Someone I know drove past the accident scene on his way to work. He saw the bike and said the rear blinky light was still working. That upsets be just a little bit more.
Ive had a recurring nightmare over the years. That I was driving the store’s car. The one with my stores name all over it. I dreamed that for a split second I was distracted by something (lets say for comedy’s sake I was reaching down for a donut) and I did not see the bike in time. Hit and killed. Absolute terror. Im upset just typing it. Just think about it. Ive had this dream more than once. And Im not sure if I could continue if it did happen.
My point here is that inattentive driving is going to happen. Accidents will happen. And beating up that driver, or any driver with a baseball bat will not change the fact that the interface between car and bike needs to change.
Unfortunately, at my age I don’t think I will see it. Bikes are still a minority compared to cars. And second class citizens on our roads and thats sad.
I fully expect, in time, before my cycling days are over, to have another person I know, maybe a close friend or just a store acquaintance, die riding a bike.
What a frickin’ nightmare.