Bike lane safety

2011-12-27

Sadly - very sadly, I heard after I got home today that a cyclist was struck and killed in Cambridge near MIT campus. It was on Vassar St off of Mass Ave, an area which I've heard of bike accidents happening at before despite the fact there are bike lanes all around, and so much bike traffic I can't imagine anyone being oblivious to their general, persistent presence.

Not like this. Damnit, I hate hearing about another cyclist's death.

There's a lot that goes through my mind on nights like this one. I can't imagine what awful news it must be to receive if you are the family of this victim. Or, a close friend. A significant other.

I know, that people driving their cars/trucks/SUVs aren't (mostly) psychopaths who want to cause harm to others. I know, that when a driver is involved in a situation where someone dies, they are not prepared for the guilt that follows.

So many times tragedy comes, and it could have been prevented. I can't say tonight what happened in Cambridge, what might have been done differently, what could be learned to keep this from happening again.

Earlier in the evening I had already begun working on a video when I read the news, and it seemed more poignant and timely to patch it together. I'm no wizard with editing, I didn't overlay any audio, I didn't even put in any credits. I just want to point out some of the absurd behavior I come across quite frequently, and if you identify any of these hazards as something you can avoid contributing to, I'd be grateful. And, not doing one of these things may save someone's life, even mine.

In this video I am showcasing bike lane interlopers and vehicles that increased the risk to my safety in lieu of a few seconds of slowing down, or finding an actual parking spot. In the first three minutes I had my lane cut off from me twice by vehicles that didn't appear to check and see if the space was safe to swerve into (and, without providing a signal of their intent to pass around an obstruction). This is the most dangerous move I typically encounter; though, the lane parkers seen later on can make things risky as it forces me into the road where I get to then intermingle with two-ton rage machines.

(More after the break, in the complete post.)

Yes, those are license plates listed at the end. I considered reporting them, but honestly I know that will end up going absolutely nowhere. I'm positive that the police have their focus on other things, and often it's more disturbing than someone double-parking in a bike lane. Worst things are being done.

I just wish that more drivers wouldn't find this to be acceptible behavior.

I'd like it if there was a way to submit picture and video evidence of bad road users somehwere so that it could lead to points or suspension of a driver's license. I don't think public shaming is sufficient, as they're in public when they toss my safety to the curb.

My thoughts are scattered and hurt as I scan everywhere looking for information on tonight's painful, mortal reminder. I want to know what happened, what went wrong. I want to not know who it was, and I feel ashamed for being so selfish as that. The truth is, every time I hear of another cyclist's death, I feel my own form of loss and I don't think I'd keep control of myself if it was someone I was close to.

Be safe out there. Slow down. Don't kill anyone.

Is that really so hard?

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