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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WINDSHIELD | People for Bikes

Sarah Braker, communications manager
Sharing the road has its risks, and something that unites many bicyclists, from novice to experienced, is the fear of being hit by a car. But, what if it isn't just the person on two wheels, but also the one behind the wheel, who is a bike rider? As we learned from our participation study, 88% of people who rode a bike in 2014 also drove a car, so it’s possible, even probable, that drivers involved in bike-car crashes are themselves people who ride bikes. What follows is the story of one such person, a frequent bike commuter who hit another bike rider with her car. Her name has been changed to protect her anonymity, and her story proves when it comes to bike and cars, it’s much more complicated than us versus them.

Image: Flickr

The driver

My friend, we’ll call her Veronica, lives in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston and identifies as a bike commuter. She usually rides to work, three miles each way, and also uses her bike to run errands. Boston has made great strides over the past few years to become a more bike-friendly city, but Veronica says she still worries about crashes. “Not a single day goes by that I don’t think my life will be ended by a car hitting me,” she says. Driving in Boston is no picnic either, and like many of us, as Veronica started biking more, she became a more careful and vigilant driver. “I definitely am more cognizant of bikers when driving,” she says, “If I’m parked on a street, I will look in my mirror to see if a cyclist is coming and I never honk at people on their bikes.”

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