Saturday, August 18, 2012

Much too close

On June 11 this year, as some of my readers might remember, I was out for a ride on 22x. I would have ridden through the intersection of Woodvalley Gate and 130 Ave, about 5:45 or so. I ride through this intersection almost every ride.

On June 29th, I was through it again about the same time. There was a race in between, so I wasn't riding as much as I normally would have been.

That intersection looks like this. It's a nice downhill in the direction of the arrow. It is wide open and clear, with no obstructing trees or bushes.

On June 24 this year, about 5:45, at that intersection, near the red arrow, this happened. Here's a link to the story, for as long as the Herald has it.

A long time ago, a car / cyclist collision was just another news story for me, one of many. Then I started riding, and those news stories became people that I knew, or that I knew of, or were friends of friends. I've heard many stories that didn't make the news, stories of cyclists being forced off the road, of having objects hurled at them, verbal abuse or worse. It's oh so brave of a driver in a 2 ton car to be playing chicken with a cyclist, or abuse them and speed away. Lower Springbank road is notorious for that sort of thing.

This is in my neighbourhood, maybe 2 K from my house, so I often run through that intersection, not just ride. I think I've seen Allen on his bike. It might have been one of my neighbours that hit him, and then just left him in the street. I don't like to think about that. I suppose he is fortunate that the driver didn't actually run over him, if it happened at the turn like they think. If the driver was on the phone he might never have noticed.

This is a fairly busy intersection so it wouldn't have been long till someone else came by, and I'm glad someone did. I hope someone saw it and reports it, even if they didn't realize at the time what was happening, or saw it and were afraid to get involved. Allen got a wicked nasty bruise around the left side of his torso, and a concussion. It's a good thing he was wearing a helmet. I don't know if he wears Road ID or not, but that is exactly the reason why I do.

At this point, nobody but the driver knows his or her side of the story, if in fact they even realize they hit someone. It would not astonish me if they read the story, and said to themselves, gee, I hope they get that bastard, while never knowing how their mirror got broken or bent. Maybe they were on the phone, or looking at a map, or arguing with their kids, or were impaired somehow. Unless they man up, or someone comes forward, we will never know. That must be horrible for Allen, wondering if that truck passing him today is the one that hit him, or if that driver lives a few doors down from him.

Just another thing to think about, for both drivers and cyclists. It's almost enough to make me get one of those mini cameras, and mount it on my bike so there is a record of who comes up behind me.

I've ranted about drivers before, but at the moment I'm too heartsick to give that jerk the blog lashing that is so well deserved. What does it take to get drivers to pay attention to the task at hand, that is, safely driving their weapon to the intended destination? Events like this I can understand why people want the CCTV cameras everywhere.

In other news, today was active in terms of house chores. My lawn is a mess with weeds and crap, and I'm not a fan of dumping poison on it. Anybody know of someone that does xeriscaping? I'm tempted to having someone come in with a bobcat and take the entire lawn away outside the flower boxes, and the flower box dirt as well. Then put down about a mile of weed proof landscape fabric and a few tons of nice gravel with decorative rocks, with maybe a few more flower boxes for variety.

There was a good session of stretching with some core, including 70 seconds of plank. I am amazed. There is an elbow to opposite knees thing while on my back, that is getting much better. Thanks to Darryl, I found the only massage therapist in Calgary that isn't on vacation. Or so it seems.

So, on IMC day, if you aren't in the race, and aren't at the race spectathaleting, what will you be doing?


  1. I read that article. Made me feel terribly sick too. I just started cycling again; being like a newbie, I'm all over the road. And then there's hubby with our daughter in the bike trailer. We probably will never bike that intersection, as we don't live near there, but it could be another intersection, another time. Hate thinking about that. I only hope that this guy recovers from his injuries and is ok. And that they caught the driver of that truck and bring him to justice.

    When IMC day? I think I'll be enjoying Melbourne...???

  2. This is my biggest fear when it comes to cycling. I've had a few close calls in the past few years. By far the scariest was a truck that was slowing down at a stop sign, but didn't see me and accelerated.... I swerved out of the way and felt the bumper graze my leg. That was both scary and a wake-up call for me. I always take the necessarry precautions, but sometimes that is not enough. From now on, unless I make eye contact at an intersection like that, I stop completely.
    5 years ago, when I first moved to GP and had no interest in road biking at all, there was a woman that was killed while cycling. It was very sad indeed. I ended up working with her coworkers and my first day of work was 3 days after the accident. It was so sad and I always think of her when I'm riding. I had a few of my former coworkers think that I'm crazy because I bike on the same road sometimes that the accident happened. But you know, you can't live your life in fear. All we can do is take the necesarry precautions and enjoy every day and every moment.
    Wow, that was longer than I expected it to be!

  3. I got hit by a car when I was riding when I was 22 or so. I was on a country road at night. The guy stopped, dragged me to the side of the road, and then got in his truck and drove off. He was drunk, and smelled like booze.
    Several other drivers drove by when I was lying on the side of the road, and no one picked me up when I was walking to town even though I was covered in blood.

    I eventually limped the 4 miles to town, got the attendant to call my roomie to come pick me up because my bike was bent in half.
    I have recently been riding again, but I can't get myself to go alone because of my previous experience... AND I have a freaking crazy good helmet. Your idea of the epic cam might actually help me start riding alone again... I am going to have to think about that.

  4. As a sneak preview for tonight's blog, I RODE through that intersection today.

    IMC is Aug 26. For the people there it starts before dawn, and goes till midnight.

  5. Long comments, short, all are welcome! If we didn't bike on roads where a cyclist had had an interaction with a car, there wouldn't be many cycling spaces left, and the drivers would be running us off them too. The eye contact thing is important, I do that all the time too, and until the driver recognizes my right to be there I'm mentally calculating where to bail out.

  6. OMG! That is crazy! Not to freak you out a little, but it's a good thing he wasn't into anything kinky. Gawd. I despair at people sometimes. Why wouldn't anyone stop to at least ask if you needed help? Did they think you were bait for a scam or hijacking or something? Even if they didn't want to let you in the car, they could promise to notify someone in town that would help you. I don't blame you for not wanting to ride alone. I've been looking at the camera thing. GoPro is a good one, and if I'm reading it right, the base model is about $300, and with an $80 SD card, there is enough memory for a 6 hour ride. I'll have to talk to a buddy of mine that has one. This could well get more blog exposure.

  7. I will NEVER understand why no one stopped. It's actually one of the "safest" parts of the country... lowest violent crime and murder rates... I think there was 1 in the entire county in the last 2 years.

    300 is a bit more than I can probably spend right now as I am saving for a new bike. BUT. I do have an old camera that has a video mode. It is possible I can modify it a bit and use that.

    It was almost 15 years ago, and I have always regretted not filing a police report. I had no health insurance at the time, and I was terrified they would force me to go to a hospital (if that isn't an argument about how broken the US system is, nothing is).


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