How do you keep safe?

Seattle Bike Blog reports: 

A woman biking on Highway 112 three miles west of Port Angeles was killed Sunday afternoon when a car struck her from behind.

The driver, Marylan A. Thayer, 65, is not suspected to have been under the influence, according to Peninsula Daily News.

The victim, who has not yet been publicly identified, was wearing a neon yellow safety jacket and riding a mountain bike at the time of the collision.

Her death was the second in the Puget Sound region in just two days. One person was killed Saturday while biking on the Ave in the University District.

The deaths are the latest in what is one of the most devastating summers the region has seen in years.

John Przychodzen was struck from behind and killed while cycling in Kirkland July 22.

Mike Wang was struck and killed by a turning SUV on Dexter July 29. The driver fled the scene and has yet to be found.

Brian Fairbrother died nine days after an August 30 crash on a staircase near Fairview Ave N.

Donald David Moore, 65 of Ephrata, was killed September 2 while cycling on State Route 243 north of Mattawa.

First, my condolences to all those who have lost friends and family members. Be safe out there, everyone.

This is my first year as a bike commuter, and honestly, my first year on a bike since early college. The majority of my rides are not on bike paths, or even in bike lanes. Mostly, I’m riding on the road with the cars. People always say to me:

You mean, you ride on the street? With the cars? But how? Isn’t that dangerous? Aren’t you afraid? 

I used to ask those same questions as well. At some point the appeal of biking to work helped me get past my fears and I just tried it. It wasn’t that bad. For the most part, drivers in Seattle are very respectful and accustomed to sharing the road with bicycles. The freedom I feel when riding is, for me, worth the risks associated with it. When I think about that it sounds a little crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever explicitly stated it that way. But by continuing to ride every day, I am accepting the risks. 

So, how do I keep safe? 

First, I follow all laws as if I am a motorist. I do what I can to be a good biking citizen, showing motorists that not all of us run don’t wait our turn at stop signs and run red lights. I think that is very important if we want to get non-bike riding citizens to support more cyclists on the road. 

I wear my helmet.

I use lights when it’s cloudy, rainy, or dark. 

I use hand signals, and always try to be predictable. I also try to make eye contact with drivers whenever I can. I want to be sure that they can see me. 

I ride pretty slow… especially when I’m riding somewhere new. And as long as it’s safe I always leave room for drivers to get past me so I don’t hold them up. 

When you go out on the road in a vehicle, on a bike, or even on your own two feet, you are always taking risks. I think it’s very important in an urban environment that we make room for everyone, be respectful, and pay attention. Multiple modes of transportation can make our city a greener and happier place to live, but we all have to find a way to coexist peacefully. Every person biking or walking means one less vehicle on the road. That means less traffic and a happier, more efficient commute for everyone. 

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