This week's letter comes from Ben Groeneveld who sends a restrained take on his recent collision with a car while bike commuting. The issue of bicycle and pedestrian safety remains a serious one in car crazy Central Oregon, and falling gas prices aren't likely to do anything to increase awareness efforts. So thanks for the letter, Ben. With warmer weather on the way, we'd all do well to keep an eye out for bikers and other non-motorized users of our roads. In the meantime, you can collect your winner's prize: an Old Mill pint glass at our office, 704 NW Georgia.
Our vehicles collided. No citation was issued. That's the police report. I wanted to go left, and the driver wanted to turn right. I feel so sorry for the driver that hit me. The driver didn't see me and my viewpoint is that the driver was not trained to look for bicycles. In contrast, I am so experienced in looking for car behavior that might put me at risk. What better could we have done? One of the officers said "It could have been worse."
I cannot agree more. I rode my warped bike home. I wanted to see if my body still worked, and in no way did I want to assert any sort of entitlement to medical attention. The next morning I could not walk and a St. Charles visit for photos was necessitated. Nothing broken - a lot of swelling; Monday I am scheduled to visit with an orthopedic fellow to see why my knee rotation causes pain.
My hope and expectation are that it is like some yard work mishap that will heal by virtue of our amazingly adaptable bodies.
After last year's fatal Moon crash, upon my Mom's advice, and no doubt my girlfriend's concerns, I researched bicycle safety extensively. There is a considerable amount of opinion out there. Worth mentioning is that I grew up in bicycle communities abroad and cycled extensively overseas. My life is of the scientific method. Unfortunately, there are few refereed statistics. Even helmet designers want more epidemiological information. In Denmark and The Netherlands there are less vehicle-bike collisions than anywhere, and they don't even wear helmets. How can that be? The explanations are conjecture - I will encourage you to research it for yourself. Little engineering and few physics data exists on bike safety topics. Do bike lanes even help? You would be surprised at the counter-intuitive evidence. Please look into it with an open mind. Please draw conclusions deductively.
I had already bought the yellow Citi helmet. I always wear yellow clothes. What else can we do? My thinking is that bicyclists cannot be the only ones that bear the responsibility of safe or defensive riding. Bicycle safety must be integrated into the core curriculum of driver's education by way of licensing and continual public advertisement campaigns to accelerate us into a driving age that incorporates all people that happen to be in our roads - some just not in cars.