Stay safe out there!

Victim's Xootr picThe sad news making the rounds of the Yahoo! Kickbiking mail list is of Jessica Dworkin, crushed to death on a Xootr in New York City by a tractor-trailer.

The Post article makes it clear that the driver of the rig, whose cab bears the slogan “7 Years Safe Driving,” was not at fault, and if you see a tractor-trailer turn a tight corner you would see why: the turning radius suddenly shrinks as the long vehicle makes its way around the corner, and someone who wasn’t in the path of the rear wheel, now is.

While that is predictable, what isn’t is an intoxicated driver. The newspaper I work for published a story today describing our county board of commissioners’ reaction to several pedestrian/bicyclist deaths in the area, including a Ukrainian student/guest worker killed by a drunk driver:

[A representative of the student’s employer] reflected, “The really sad thing is that Dmytro was doing everything right. He was riding his bike on the bike path on the beach road, not the bypass [which is actually a 50-mph five-lane highway]. He was wearing bright orange shorts and had reflectors and lights. He did everything right and still got killed.”

When I got my motorcycle in the ‘eighties I enrolled in a safety class first, where we learned the defensive mnemonic SIPDE (Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute) for riding in traffic (and the natural milieu of the motorcycle is right in the midst of vehicles four times its size and larger). Knowing and practicing SIPDE can’t hurt on a scooter or bicycle; this vigilance is often our only protection against the behemoths of the road.

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