I read a story in the OC Register about a cyclist passing away after being struck by a car in Santiago Canyon. As an avid endurance athlete and cyclist it makes me depressed every time I hear it because it could be someone I know or even me. When I rode my bike more aggressively in college I remember zig zag attacks on hills, speedy blind corners and daring cars by swerving into their lanes. It was youthful exuberance and adrenaline fueled stupidity.
A few years removed I realize that I could have very well been one of those dead cyclist; I believe 8 thus far in OC this year. In a way my behavior allowed me to be seen and the erratic riding made drivers especially cautious because most people are not trying to hit a bike rider. However, those “good” riders also get struck, but why? Most follow the rules....BUT I do not know any cyclist who has not done a few illegal u-turns, or merged into the wrong lane or even taken a yellow light just so their cadence doesn’t get ruined. It is not worth it.
Now that I have been running lot I have become a better cyclist, I follow the rules. I try and wait at every light and cross the street only when it is all clear and the little white man tells me it is good to go. I hit stop on the Garmin and wait. No workout or gain I get out of running or riding 30 yards is good enough to risk it. Cars don’t want to hit you but the fact is we all get lazy and sometimes our eyes gloss over and we simply do not see runners or riders. So be safe out there, be seen and remember we are all on both sides, drivers and athletes, share the road.