If you’ve had the misfortune of being hit by a car while on your bike, you may have heard the classic, “I didn’t see you.” The other typical response while you are writhing on the ground in pain is, “he/she came out of nowhere!” Whether you’re on the bike or driving, distracted drivers have become the norm.
I like to look around while sitting at red lights. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times, so I like to identify potential hazards. It’s likely no surprise to hear the majority of people are looking down at their lap. Those who are more brazen will have their device right in front of their face. At the least the former are pretending to obey the law by attempting to conceal their distraction. For the latter, it’s their world, we’re just living in it.
Another issue that doesn’t get much attention is drivers unintentionally impeding their visibility. Drivers don’t seem to understand the danger of leaving a placard hanging from the rearview mirror. Windshield mounted GPS or phones pose the same danger. While it should be obvious, a large portion of the forward visibility of the vehicle in question is blocked by these items.
Mike was on the receiving end of such a collision. He was hit by a car from directly behind because the driver didn’t see him due to the handicap placard hanging from their rearview mirror. His injuries put him in the hospital, which underscores the importance of having proper insurance coverage. Mike continues to cope with residual effects from this accident, and will likely do so for the rest of his life.
We know distracted drivers are dangerous. It’s difficult to prepare for other peoples mistakes. Riding with awareness and as little distractions as possible gives a rider a fighting chance. Rider visibility options such as hi-vis clothing and lighting systems can help be seen, but only if a driver can see you. When people block their visibility with a physical barrier, a rider better have good insurance. It’s chaotic out there, and riders have no real protection. Stay aware, and as always, keep the rubber side down!