Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Car vs Bicyclist

I almost hit a woman with my car tonight.  I was pulling out of the parking lot and had stopped to wait for the oncoming traffic before turning right.  Just as I started to pull out I saw a woman riding a bike on the sidewalk to me right.  I had to stomp on the brakes and then back up so she could pass.

My initial reaction was horror and guilt for my appalling error.  As I drove on I changed my attitude.

First of all - the legality of the situation.  She was on a bicycle and was therefore considered a vehicle, not a pedestrian.  As a vehicle, she should have been on the other side of the road and, as a vehicle, she shouldn't have been on the sidewalk.

Second - the safety of the situation.  It was a dark, cloudy, misty night.  She was wearing dark pants, a dark jacket and a dark helmet.  She did have a small red safety blinker on her helmet (which is what caught my eye), but it was hardly sufficient to compensate for the dark clothing.

So while I would still have felt horrible had I hit her and hurt her, I certainly wouldn't feel "at fault".  I do hope she made it home safely.  I also hope she has learned to be more visible in the future.

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