How not to get hit by a truck while riding your bike

Bike accident injuryIf you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram, you might have seen this gnarly picture already.  Apologies in advance for tossing it out there again but it seemed as good a time as any to talk about bike safety, or “How Not To Get Hit By A Truck While Riding Your Bike.”

So here’s the deal, last week, I was riding my bike down a fairly busy street when I was runoff the road by a truck whose driver said  he “never saw me.”  It was a crystal clear 10am and I was wearing bright blue and had my little blinky light thingy going on the tail end of my bike.  Still, this driver legitimately did NOT see me.  Was he distracted? Possibly.  So maybe he should have gotten a ticket for that.  But when it comes down to it, it’s up to me to protect me hide out there on the bike.  I have to assume that 99% of drivers are either distracted and/or not expecting a bike to come their way.  And all I could think about after my wreck was that what if that had been one of my kids.  Granted, at 10 and 7 they’re not out there biking on their own, but would I have been able to stop that crash even if I had been behind her?

[I should mention here that the boo-boo above was my only injury from the wreck.  Still counting my lucky stars…]

Everyone knows the standard safety tips for riding bikes—wear a helmet, ride with traffic, use proper hand signals, etc.  These are great tips and should be the norm for any ride you or your kids take.  But there are other things you can do to avoid a crash.  I found some great tips in this post:  Bicycle Safety – How to Not Get Hit By Cars.  Incidentally, the kind of crash I had was apparently called a “Left Hook.”  How could I have avoided it?

  • Wear bright colors –It’s possible that my bright blue shirt blended right in with that day’s beautiful bright blue sky.  You can bet that I’ll be wearing crossing guard yellow or orange from here on out.
  • Install a headlight — My light is on the back of my back. That’s good for avoiding rear-end crashes.  But a headlight would help me be more visible to oncoming traffic.
  • Wave my hands in the air — I could tell that the driver didn’t see me in the instant before he turned into me.  He had that faraway stare like he was looking right passed me.  In one other instance when this happened, I shouted to the driver to watch out.  I knew this driver wouldn’t hear me on such a busy road so I didn’t bother.  But had a waved an arm in the air, it might have made him see me before he turned.

Do you have any more tips for avoiding collisions with cars while riding your bike? I’d love to hear them!

  • Shane Shirley-Smith

    Glad you are ok!!!!!

  • GreenJean

    Glad you’re ok! Yikes!!

  • Lori Popkewitz Alper

    Oh Jenn-that boo boo doesn’t look very good. I cycle a lot and there have been a lot of close calls. I think with so many people texting and talking on the phone there’s a lot of distraction and many more chances to get hit. I guess my biggest and best piece of advice it to pay attention to your surroundings. I’m not sure I would have thought to wave my hands in the air….I think it’s so shocking while it’s happening. I’m not sure there’s anything else we can do. So glad you’re OK.