You do not know me, but my name is Rick. I was the cyclist you almost hit this morning. Did you even notice me as you sped down the street in your Hummer? Did you hear me yell at you? I apologize, but what you did scared me. I was seconds away from being a speed bump. You backed out of your driveway and forced me to jump the curb in order not to be hit by you. I think you heard me yell. I will also assume that you were embarrassed. After all, why else would you speed down the street, past a bus stop with children, at twice the speed limit?
What was it that you did not see? Was it the lime green reflective helmet cover? the blinking light on my helmet? the green blinking lights on the stem of my bike? the white blinking light on the handlebars? my reflective vest? the three yards of reflective tape that cover most of my bike frame? I spend a great deal of time on my bike. In the first two months of this year, I have already ridden more than 300 miles. I want to be safe.
Did something happen this morning? Maybe you woke up late. Being first is more important that being safe, right? Did you have a fight with your children about eating their breakfast? Do you have kids Jack? I have a four year old, a two year old and a baby boy due at the end of the month. Can you imagine what it would be like to tell my daughters that they would no longer see their daddy? Can you imagine how sad their wedding days would be with no one to walk them down the aisle? Can you imagine my son who would never know his father? Can you imagine my wife as she tries to raise three children by herself? Would you be willing to take care of my family?
Jack, I am sure that you did not see me. In 1996, a car hit me. After I regained consciousness, the first thing I heard was, “I never saw him.” Since then, I have involved myself in cycling advocacy. You know what the first thing a majority of drivers say after they hit a cyclist? Right. “I never saw him.”
Please, go to the website yieldtolife.org. I have no connection with it. Read about why the website exists. Read the tips. I promise, if you follow the tips for drivers, I will follow the tips for cyclists. Keep your eyes open. Cycling is becoming more and more prevalent. Today was a close call. Tomorrow we might not be so lucky.
Few things annoy me as much as the excuse "I didn't see you." To me, that just means you weren't trying hard enough, and should lose your license due to simple negligence - especially if you're driving something as big as a Hummer.
People, not speed.