Yesterday was the first anniversary of the tragic accident in the San Francisco Bay Area that claimed the lives of Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough. These two cyclists were struck and killed by an on-duty county sheriff who fell asleep at the wheel of his cruiser and struck a group of riders head-on.
You can read my original blog posting on the tragedy at:
I think it is important to all of us to revisit what happened on March 9, 2008. It is not going to bring back Kristy or Matt, but hopefully it will remind us all that tragedies like this can happen. Given the circumstances of this particular accident, it is clear that Kristy and Matt couldn't have done anything to avoid being hit. But, it does illustrate the more-than-likely-result of a car/bike collision and stresses that we, as riders, need to do everything we can, within reason, to avoid being hit by a car.
I have written in previous blogs about the importance of riding defensively and anticipating situations where the potential for an accident is significantly increased such as at busy intersections or riding in rush hour traffic. It just makes sense that even though a rider might be in the "right" in a legal sense, taking that right might result in dire consequences.
That doesn't mean that all cyclists should just roll over and allow cars total control. It just means that good judgment goes a long way in avoiding a car/bike accident. Just as we cyclists often remind cars that giving a cyclist their right-of-way only costs them a few seconds, the same applies to cyclists who, in the interest of avoiding an accident, can back off a bit and avoid a dangerous situation from occurring.