Another blogger I follow recently had a scary incident while running. You can read about her story here. It's a scary world out there for cyclists and runners/walkers/pedestrians who are trying to share the road with cars. I commented on her blog post that I feel like I've become a better driver now that I'm a cyclist and marathoner. I thought I would elaborate a little on my own blog.
It's frustrating when I see a cyclist or pedestrian involved in a car accident. Not only is it scary and unfortunate but it's frustrating when the cyclist/pedestrian is doing all of the RIGHT things and it's the driver of the car that is at fault. Either they are just obnoxious and try to intimidate because they are the one driving the death machine or they are distracted by something IN their car (ie CELL PHONES!). That blogger was IN the crosswalk and was wearing reflective clothing. What else could she have been expected to do when crossing the street??
Something that I've been even more aware of in recent years is making a right turn on red while driving. How many times do you pull up to a red light, pull out to watch for traffic coming from the left but don't check (and check again) to see if anything/anyone is coming from the right, such as a pedestrian. It might be perfectly legal to make a right on red but in some cases, the pedestrians might also have the "walk" signal. So now, I usually end up looking right first to see if anyone is there and then start looking left. It's taken some time to retrain my brain to be extra cautious and look right again before proceeding with the turn.
Even more so now since I've become a cyclist myself, I allow A LOT of room for cyclists when I am driving. I will wait until I have plenty of room to pass. And when I do pass, I tend to swing wide, away from the cyclist. Even if a car has allowed enough room, a car flying past you at a high rate of speed can be startling. I know how it feels so I avoid doing that to anyone else.
All of this also makes me think of how so many people don't know the laws when it comes to cyclists on the road. In Ohio, bicycles are pretty much treated the same as a car. You ride on the right side of the road and follow all normal traffic laws. While it is technically legal for cyclists to be on sidewalks in Ohio, it's generally not a good idea. Every single intersection becomes a place for a potential collision because drivers just aren't looking for cyclists on the sidewalk (especially if traveling the "wrong" way.). Here is a summary of the Ohio laws as they pertain to cyclists. Of course I hope you aren't coming to this blog for all of your legal needs so please don't believe everything you see on the internet and don't take anything I say as fact. :) I'm just trying to encourage people to be aware of all things on the road, not just the other cars. And look up the traffic/cyclists laws in your own state. A good rule of thumb though, give cyclists and pedestrians plenty of room...and don't be a jerk. That last one is just a good rule of thumb in all areas of life.