I got hit by a car this morning—in the best possible way. As I mentioned on Facebook, I was in a painted bike line passing a line of cars stuck in traffic when one driver turned into a side street. Well, she meant to turn into a side street, but actually she turned into my bicycle. She couldn't have been looking at all, since most of the bike was past her when she started to turn—thank goodness!—so her front bumper just hit me on the back wheel. It was a very narrow-angle collision—she more merged into me than hit me—and since I have a pannier bag on that side, the impact was reduced even more. I didn't go down; in fact, I didn't even stop. In retrospect I maybe should have taken a moment to ask her to be more careful in the future, but I was more concerned about getting to work.
But it does make me wonder about how much attention people pay when they're in their cars. After all, they're operating heavy machinery that could easily kill someone—including quite possibly themselves, in many circumstances. But I guess since we spend so much time behind the wheel it becomes routine. On the way home I saw a young man in a pickup truck blow through a red light at a crosswalk, so late that the walk light was already on. Why did he do that? Did he make an assessment that no one would be walking or cycling out from the tree-lined bike path to his left? Or did he somehow not see the light?
Of course, it doesn't make me want to stop walking or cycling... that would be letting the terrorists win! This evening the boys and I had a lovely ride home from the library in the dark, under the nearly-full moon, and I didn't worry a bit. What it does do is make me a more careful driver myself. Cars are dangerous!