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.
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.