I saw a cyclist get hit by a car today

Let me start by saying the cyclist is alive. Eventually I watched him stand up and slowly walk to the police cruiser.

But he was hurt badly. And he was making a painful noise I’ll never forget.

It happened at King & Niagara. The driver, who was probably in his late teens or early 20s, was turning left on King. The cyclist was going straight south on Niagara. When he was hit, he flipped (his legs up in the air) and landed on the ground. The driver pulled over and ran to the cyclist. So did many pedestrians and the police were there within 4 minutes after the accident happened.

The driver kept saying “I didn’t see him!”, “I didn’t see him!”. And I believe the kid who looked like he just passed his G2. He likely didn’t see him. He probably wasn’t looking for a cyclist.

The thing is, the cyclist was likely riding at a very fast speed. So if he was coming south on Niagara then the driver probably thought he had enough time to turn or didn’t even think to look up the street for the cyclist.

The cyclist was wearing a helmet. If he wasn’t, I can’t imagine what kind of state he would be in. I think he landed on his shoulder and I think he’ll be spending some time at the hospital tonight. I hope he’ll be OK.

I wonder when he’ll get back on his bike? And I wonder when the young kid will feel comfortable driving again?

I don’t blame either for this accident. To help prevent it … maybe the cyclist should have slowed down when driving through a busy intersection, and the driver should always be aware of cyclists.

To me, tonight wasn’t a case of the blame game. Instead lets figure out the best way to improve our city’s biking infrastructure.

Because we can do better. Much better.

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7 thoughts on “I saw a cyclist get hit by a car today

  1. That is terrifying! Oh, geez! So glad to hear that the cyclist made it out pretty much okay.

    I don’t know if we need to avoid blaming someone though. (It sounds like) The cyclist was going straight (right of way), in his own space, and the driver turned into him and hit him. The driver is 100% at fault and to blame. Even great infrastructure likely wouldn’t prevent something like that (someone in Chicago just got hit by a driver in the exact same way, and he was in a protected bike lane). Assigning any responsibility to the cyclist is victim blaming. I wonder, if the driver hit a pedestrian would there be the same reaction? The same questioning of what the pedestrian could have done to prevent the driver from running him/her over?

    Now, does it mean the driver is a horrible person who should suffer the rest of his life because it’s his fault? No! Absolutely not. Just because someone is at fault, doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. And I do think people forget that sometimes. But he is to blame and is responsible for the cyclist’s injuries.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still think you’re onto something with infrastructure though. In the big picture sense, it is more useful to ‘blame’ infrastructure problems than individual drivers. If all we ever do is point fingers to individuals, then the larger systemic problems go ignored.

  2. Thanks again for your perspective! What you’re saying makes complete sense and you’re likely right. I do think it would be smart for cyclists on fast road bikes to slow down when they go through busy city intersections though (and go as fast as they want on separate bike paths). I wonder if cyclists on fast road bikes get into more accidents than those on slower bikes in the city?

  3. Reblogged this on In Wheel Life and commented:
    This post made me shiver. I completely agree with what you said about the driver not seeing him because he wasn’t looking for a bike. Hey, I even backed up into a bright red car once, simply because I didn’t think any car would be around. I did not see it despite it being in my field of vision. Thanks for sharing your story … it’s a good reminder to be mindful.

  4. OMG – so terrible! I have come into some scary situations like this. If there’s no bike lane, what is the driver’s responsibility? I’ve had some very aggressive bikers pass me on both sides and thank god I never hit them!

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