An Open Letter To The Bicyclist I Almost Hit In Portland
To The Bicyclist I Almost Hit On Commercial Street Last Week:
I want to start by saying that I am very courteous to bicyclists wherever I drive. I always make sure I give bicyclists like you the required three feet of space between us when driving past, and more if surrounding traffic allows it. You have just as much of a right to be on the road with your bike as I do with my car. I know that many other drivers may not show the same courtesy I do.
There are a lot of dangers out there for bicyclists on the road. Distracted driving, speeders and people who just don't share the road as required. Luckily, here in Portland, many streets and roads have dedicated bike lanes to make it easier for drivers and bicyclists to share the road. Regardless, it should be a harmonious relationship between drivers and bicyclists but sharing the road goes both ways.
I was driving down Union Street in Portland to turn right onto Commercial Street and came to a red light. I was third in a line of cars and when the light turned green they turned left and as I approached to turn right I looked to my left as I do just to be cautious. I saw you riding along side the line of stopped cars and assumed you would stop at the red light, so I continued to make my turn. I assumed wrong.
Seeing you were not intending to stop at the red light, I slammed on my brakes as you zoomed in front of me right through the red light zipping down Congress Street as if traffic laws don't apply to you. You should know, they do.
Sharing the road means that you have the same responsibilities as if you were driving a car such as yielding to pedestrians, stopping at stop signs and yes, stopping at red lights.
Luckily, this time, no one was hurt. However, it could have been much worse.
We all need to be aware of our surroundings and expect the unexpected whether we are driving a car or riding a bike. However, in order to share the roads and make sure we all stay safe, we all must obey traffic laws. Driver or bicyclist.