Stories about car-bicycle accidents -- like this one, "Former Hudson man accused in death of California bicyclist faces new charges" -- scare me, because it easily could be me.
I had an old lady turn left in front in front of me while I was riding earlier this week. Afraid I was going to T-bone the side of her car, I braked hard and swerved a bit, and didn't hit anything. I don't know if I would call it a close call, but it was too close for comfort. I shouted a couple of things at her that I can't repeat here. She didn't hear me (her windows were up and she was too far away by that point), but it made me feel better. I don't know if she saw me and thought she could make the turn, or didn't see me at all.
I do everything I can to be visible when riding. My cycling gear is brightly colored and reflective, and my bike's battery-powered head- and tail-lights blink to draw attention. I want to be seen while riding, for my own safety.
I respect the cars whizzing by me when I ride. They're bigger, move faster and can inflict serious damage if we touch. That's why when I'm on the road, I want to be as brightly colored and visible as possible so drivers know I'm out there, too. I also ride as close to the white line on the road as I can. If there's a berm, I prefer to ride on it. However, since that's where road debris collects -- like broken glass, bits of metal and other things just waiting to puncture my tires --sometimes I can't. As a cyclist, I respect traffic laws, stops signs and lights, and try to leave enough road for cars to get around me. I wear a mirror so I know when a car is approaching so I can give it more room to pass.
When I'm out cycling, I'm out for exercise and enjoyment, not to make life difficult for those driving past me. I keep an eye out for you while on the road. Please keep an eye out for me.