Today’s story comes from Sandy, where according to KSL,
a man on a bicycle was heading eastbound along 9000 South on the north side of the road this morning. He went against a traffic light at the eastbound-to-northbound on-ramp to I-15 and was hit by a maroon pickup truck.
The cyclist apparently suffered non-life threatening injuries, despite being thrown “25 to 30 feet.”
In the past, I’ve argued that it’s important not to fall into victim-blaming after these incidents. No matter what the circumstances, drivers have a responsibility to be aware of who or what is on the road.
But I know someone is going to read this post and point out the many things the cyclist did wrong. He went against a traffic signal, for example, and he wasn’t wearing reflective clothing. He may also have been on the wrong side of the road.
Keep in mind that there is some inherent absurdity here; are dark-colored cars considered more liable for accidents than paler ones? In the end, the onus is on drivers to not hit more vulnerable cyclists.
That said, the lesson here is perhaps that everyone — cyclists included — need more education. Drivers need to be more conscientious, and cyclists — for pragmatic reasons if nothing else — need to be aware that we’re still at the beginning of a cultural shift toward more cycling. Cyclists also need to follow the rules; riding on the wrong side of the road is asking for trouble, it’s inconsiderate, and it does a disservice to cycling generally. It’s also far too common and needs to stop.
But with that in mind, the typical culprits are also to blame. KSL didn’t include a map, but 9000 South meets the I15 here:
This is what it looks like on the ground:
The problems here are pretty apparent: huge roads, no bike lanes, lack of pedestrian-oriented development, etc. Among the handful of auto-bike accidents I’ve mentioned on this blog, this one probably happened in the worst-designed place. It illustrates the damage freeways can do to an area, as well as how no matter what the cyclist did he probably would have been in danger.
And that’s the real lesson: as long as there are places like this people will have an overwhelming incentive to use cars, they’ll be in danger on bikes, and nothing will change.