Want to fear for your life?
Try balancing on two wheels in the gravel laden 2 foot shoulder of a highway as a semi-truck goes past with 3 feet of clearance at 60 mph. The wind gust first tries to shove you off of the road and then the vaccum created beside and behind the body of the truck tries to suck you under the wheels.
Now, realize that if the driver sneezes and pulverizes you or knocks you into the trees and brush where you won’t be found for days, that driver will likely not be charged with even a traffic citation, and at worst the penalty will be under $300.
Or bring it closer to home and bicycle around a school just before classes start or just after they get out and mix it up with the highly distracted soccer moms.
Or ride through Belltown on a Friday night as cars stop suddenly, pull in and out of traffic, and are entirely erratic.
Is it any wonder why some people are afraid to bicycle?
What incentive does the driver have to operate their deadly weapon in a respectful and safe manner? They have a steel cage around them. They won’t get hurt.
Well, that is what Seattle had tried to do with the “vulnerable user law” that was just overturned by an appeals court.
Seattle Times story of the ruling. Since the court has decided that a local law can’t be more restrictive than the state law, we expect to see our more politically connected friends at Cascade Bicycle Club to be working again this year to push a “vulnerable user law” at the state level. Until then, if you kill me with your car you will likely pay less than $300 in traffic fines and see your insurance rates increase.
Lest I leave readers with doom and gloom, hour for hour cycling is safer than riding in a car and it is safer than swimming.
A list of cycling risks can be found here. Personally, my car was killing me before I started bicycling. The lack of had me on track for a heart attack. I’ve made great strides, from being unable to climb 3 flights of stairs without being out of breath over 5 years ago to bicycling over 900 miles in the last couple months. The irony is that, despite my health gains, with the way some people drive the car may kill me yet. Exercise