collision at South Main and Baker

At approximately 12:30p on Sunday, a man driving a black Ford Ranger hit a man on a bicycle at the intersection of South Main St. and Baker St. I did not see it happen, but arrived on the scene before the cops.

I was not able to ascertain all of the details before the police officers asked me to step aside. The driver, it appears, hit the cyclist on the right side, perhaps while pulling away from a stop, catching the wheel of a pull-behind child carrier, as the cyclists crossed the intersection.

Thankfully, the man who had been hit was not seriously injured. He received only minor abrasions on his right elbow and forearm.

When I asked the cyclist if he had been riding in the road, he said no in a way that suggested he would never do such a thing, as if to imply that he may have been at fault had he been doing so. This is not true! Cyclists have a legal right and obligation to ride on the street. The more of us who do so, the safer we’ll all be, because drivers will come to expect us to be there.

Am I blaming the victim here? Absolutely not. The fact that the driver hit the child carrier instead of the bike itself suggests that he wasn’t paying close enough attention, and that he was rushing to pull onto South Main. What if there had been a child in that trailer?

When I stopped, the driver seemed not the least bit bothered by what had happened, and only wanted to make clear to me that the cops were on their way and that they’d take care of things. I don’t want to be guilty of assuming too much or of reading into things what isn’t there, but the whole incident makes me wonder about a number of things.

The man who was hit and the guy he was traveling with were not riding for their health or for recreation. M-52/Main St. is a major thoroughfare, and it is used frequently by members of our community who have no other form of transportation available to them other than a bicycle. They ride on the sidewalk because it seems (deceptively) to be the only safe option. Changes have got be made to protect them. If creating a protected bike lane isn’t feasible, then re-pave the sidewalk and convert it to a shared bike path and pedestrian walkway.

I’ve logged the incident on Road Guardian. If you ever see or encounter a problem, please post it on Road Guardian and send me an email.

At approximately 12:30p on Sunday, a man driving a black Ford Ranger hit a man on a bicycle at the intersection of South Main St. and Baker St. I did not see it happen, but arrived on the seen before the cops.

6 responses to “collision at South Main and Baker

  1. bicyclegirl

    Very scary. I almost always obey the no-cycling-on-sidewalks rule but never thought it was overly dangerous to cheat once in awhile and ride on a sidewalk. This story and the pictures have me convinced otherwise. A cyclist’s nightmare, for sure.

  2. I ride on the road, and follow the rules of the road as closely as I can. Very seldom do I ride on the sidewalks in order to avoid pedestrian traffic and so they’re safer without a fast steel or aluminum ‘horse’ coming up around the bend. The truck in that picture looks familiar to me, I think I’ve seen it before during my outings on the bike, but I could be mistaken, perhaps around Meijers or Wal Mart. I am very glad there wasn’t a kid in that trailer, otherwise the driver could’ve been charged with vehicular homicide (in my opinion anyway). but I never want to see someone getting hurt like that, especially a kid. Sadly I’ve seen too many on their BMXs zooming across lanes to hop across Beecher without looking both ways and coming too close to getting hit. Also neither the rider nor the vehicle driver seem to care and the driver seems to believe he or she has the right to the entire roadway even though that is not the case.

    Though for me, I’ve noticed as time progresses that my presence on the road has many drivers in the areas I travel familiar with me being there and are usually considerate in letting me by and vice versa as I try to be nice that way myself.

  3. Thank goodness no one was injured and no one was in the child carrier!

  4. Did this make the local news? I’ve been attempting to track all bicycle accidents I hear about on the @MIBikeCrash Twitter account as a simple reference. I just posted your story, but was curious if it made the mainstream news.

    Here’s the feed of bike accident stories all in one place:

  5. Thanks for posting our story and providing us with a link to this feed.

    It has not yet appeared in the online version of our local paper ( I don’t know if it made television or radio news, but I seriously doubt it.

  6. My wife spotted this guy downtown today, back on his bike, trailer in tow. Alas, he was riding the wrong way and on the sidewalk.