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Carson Leach
Carson Leach
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Crashes Involving Human-Powered Vehicles Abound

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Though automobile drivers are often the culprits of collisions with cyclists, sometimes the cyclist makes a poor decision that can result in extreme bodily harm and even death.

Glenn Thomas Brunck of Greensboro, North Carolina failed to yield the right-of-way while operating his moped on February 21, 2010. Mr. Brunck made a right turn onto High Point Road from a driveway and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Mr. Brunck, who might have sustained only minor injuries, was lucky. Accidents involving cyclists often end in devastating harm.

In Reidsville, North Carolina, Talia Maria Mercado, 14, was taken by EMS to the hospital after her bicycle collided with an automobile on February 27, 2010. In this case, the rider stated that she had been wearing headphones, and as a result, did not notice the car approaching an upcoming intersection on her left. Only after it was too late did the rider attempt, unsuccessfully, to stop.

Then, on a recent Friday afternoon, I wrecked my bicycle while riding after nightfall on the Lake Brandt Greenway in Greensboro. I labored under the illusion that the headlight and taillight on my bicycle would adequately light the path. However, after seeing several deer cross the path up ahead, I collided quite unexpectedly with one of them. The deer struck me on the side and sent man, animal, and machine flying in different directions. Fortunately, I was not seriously injured.

Having had this experience, I suggest that riders invest in lighting that can be affixed to the helmet in addition to the usual headlight attached to the handlebar. While a handlebar-affixed light is a good thing to have, it is limited by its capacity to point only in the direction in which the bike itself is pointed. A helmet-mounted light can illuminate things that may not be in the path of the cycle; indeed, the rider can illuminate anything he can point his head toward.

We are trained to look for obstacles in the path ahead, but three accidents have taught me that dangers often approach from the sides. Cyclists must remain alert at all times and make careful decisions while operating their vehicles or risk bodily harm, as you can see in this video that depicts a case of failure to yield on the part of a moped rider:

www.youtube.com/watch

2 Comments

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  1. Lyle says:
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    “as you can see in this video that depicts a case of failure to yield on the part of a moped rider:”

    I’m pretty sure that the moped had a green light. Note the visible red light at the beginning of the video, and see that it turned green after the crash. Also see the yellow light from the moped’s direction just after the crash. When the motorist gets out of the car, he’s talking on a cellphone. Maybe he just called an emergency number.

  2. Bryan Dotson says:
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    Regarding the moped, the car had the right of weight. If you want to stay safe, Mr. Newton’s laws are the ones that matter. Mr. Leach is right: be alert to side threats.

    I also use a helmet light for the same reason.

    Thanks for riding safely!