Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wiggle Room

noun room to maneuver; latitude.
A rash of unfortunate accidents last summer to cyclists who were either too close to trucks, or the drivers of the vehicles were unable to see the bicyclists, resulted in needless deaths. It happened in Chicago, New Hampshire, even here in Vermont. It's sad when these tragedies occur, and whether I know the victim or not, it leaves a hole in my heart.

I pulled up to an intersection on my normal route to work one morning this past summer, stopping on the left side of a right-turn-only lane. This is my pattern: to be on the right in a 3-lane wide road, going straight beyond the traffic light. A large truck pulled up beside me in the left lane, but only three feet away. I couldn't see the driver so I suspect I was likewise blocked from his vision. I shifted further forward into the crosswalk (there were no pedestrians) putting myself in view of the driver and also at a safe distance. I have this fear of falling under the wheels of a large truck. It could easily happen. A misplaced foot in my toe clip, an article of clothing caught in the gearing - anything to topple an unsuspecting cyclist into harms way.

So I leave you with this thought. Give yourself that "wiggle room". Change your position. Give yourself options - whether it's proper bike etiquette or not. Only you know your own area's traffic patterns and what constitutes safe cycling. Be seen by autos and most especially those large vehicles: moving vans, delivery trucks, UPS and FedEx drivers. We are the little fish in a traffic stream, and must be proactive to keep ourselves safe.

2 comments:

  1. This is excellent advice. I also have that fear and hate it when big trucks pass me.

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  2. I second that Annie - good advice and it always leaves a hole in my heart too. Happy New year and stay safe.

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