02

Blog

Charlotte Bicycle Accident Lawyer on a Horrible Morning Ride

The roads in Charlotte were not friendly this morning. Riding back alone from my very early morning group ride there were multiple incidents of drivers coming too close to me, two of which were either intentionally mean or extremely reckless. Bicycle Accident Lawyer Ann Groninger In the first, I came to the bottom of a hill on Sharonview Rd. in Charlotte. I stopped at the red light, looked left and waited for cars to pass. I could see at least a quarter of a mile down Colony Road and it was empty. I started right. Suddenly I felt that brush on my legs of a car not quite touching but very close, as a black Scion came from behind me, passing me in the turn, in my lane. The fact that he didn’t bother to use the entirely empty lane to my left told me this person was more than in a rush. He wanted to scare me. With his vehicle. Against my body. I rode on feeling vulnerable and wondering what it could have been that I did that made this person so angry at me. In the second incident, I was riding down Sharon Road from South Park toward town. There are two travel lanes until you get a Y where the two lanes veer left and you have to go into a left turn lane in order to stay straight. I looked back, no cars in sight, at least a half mile. Put my hand out and merged left. Looked back again, still nothing, moved into the middle of the turn lane. Suddenly a white sedan whooshed around me to my left, halfway out of the turn lane and cut back in, to avoid oncoming traffic at the light. As a bicycle accident lawyer in Charlotte, I deal with tragedies. Last week I took the deposition of a driver of a large truck who made the exact same maneuver, passing a bicyclist already in a turn lane, swerving back right to avoid oncoming traffic. The differences in that event were that the oncoming cars were closer, his car was bigger and he didn’t clear the woman on her bike who was in the turn lane turning left. He killed her. What this driver didn’t realize was that this woman on her bike was one of the most wonderful people you could ever meet. Everyone who knew her thought she was their best friend because that’s how she made them feel. The day she was killed she was riding her bike to raise money to help cure a disease that afflicted a friend’s family member. Helping others was not a part of her life, it was her life. Almost a year later, her husband, her daughters, her many grandkids and her entire community still can’t believe that this wonderful person is gone. So let’s not have the cyclist/driver debate again. We all know it and we all know the rules and despise those who break them. I start my recreational ride at 4:45 am and finish long before many people get up. I’m not obligated to stay out of the way, but when I’m on my road bike in spandex, I choose to do so. I stop at lights and stop signs and signal when changing position. So I don’t want to talk about being in the way or have a debate about whether I should be out there in the first place. What I want to talk about is the value of human life and how people can take it so lightly. I want to talk about the instant rage people feel when confronted with what could at most be considered an annoyance. Let’s talk about the complete intolerance of anything that stands in our way for even a fraction of a second. We don’t just see this on the road between bikes and cars; we see it in the grocery store on a busy Saturday, we see it waiting in line in the airport. People are angry and frustrated. No one is breathing. We’re all holding our breaths and trying to get to the next thing more quickly. In most areas of our lives, this anxious rushing has little consequence other than to make our lives rushed and anxious, and maybe annoy our families. On the road, however, it can kill someone. My whole life I have loved riding a bike. It’s always given me a sense of freedom to be able to get places by my own power, with nothing but the outdoors around me. Years ago I bought my first road bike and started group riding. That added more fitness, a social aspect and a sense of self-confidence and achievement to this activity that I already loved. I have a wonderful social network of good friends who also love being outdoors and being healthy and fit. But, now I am a mother and I have a little boy who needs me. I’m not the kind of person who’s intimidated into giving up something that’s important to me. I don’t typically shy away from a challenge. But the thought has crossed my mind that, by riding my bike on the road, especially alone, I am putting my life in the hands of people who don’t care about it and are willing to take pretty big risks with it. I’m not perfect by any means. I’ve been annoyed by people moving slowly at the grocery store when I’m trying to make a quick grocery run during lunch. Then every once in a while, a person will look back at me, offer a kind smile and apologize for being in the way; I become conscious of the realization that this isn’t an object in my way, this is a person, a nice person. I smile back. I relax. So if you’re a driver reading this and you see me on the road one day, please take a deep breath and give me some room. Most of the time it will be mere seconds, or even less, before you can pass me. Even if you don’t think I should be there, please don’t play games with my life. I’ll do my best to communicate with signals and use the road respectfully. Think about how you would feel if you hurt me and knew what it would do to my family. And if you happen to be one of those rare people who is simply just so angry and unhappy that life means nothing to you, I have some advice that might make you a little happier: go ride a bike.

Comments

Jul 29, 2016

On June 7, 2016, Charles Pickett, Jr., while under the influence of an unidentified controlled substance, drove his pickup truck into a group of cyclists in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  In doing so, he killed 5 people, and seriously injured 4 others.  The tragedy gained national attention, and there was an outpouring of support for the cyclists […]

Read More
Bike crash
Jul 19, 2016

You can’t believe that just happened. You were cut off. Left hooked. Doored. However your crash occurred, it happened, and thankfully you are walking away, shaken and pissed off. Sadly, you can’t say the same for your bike. Your frame is cracked or bent. Fork or wheels trashed. Saddle ripped. Who is going to pay? […]

Read More
DC law
Jul 12, 2016

July 12, 2016 @ 1 p.m: Washington, D.C. just took a very big step forward in protecting the rights of vulnerable road users.   Bike Law’s Timmy Finch was there. Today, Council approved the first reading of the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016. [Read more about the bill and its postponement last month.] […]

Read More
1410576_630x354
Jul 02, 2016

It’s been a brutal start to the summer for cyclists.  From New York to Michigan to San Fransisco and everywhere in between we’ve seen a level of carnage unmatched as far as I can remember.  I’ve been told that there are all sorts of possible reasons for these bike crashes, mostly some combination including more […]

Read More
IMG_3687
Jun 28, 2016

11:30 am UPDATE: Act pulled from today’s Agenda in last minute move.  This means it HAS to come up at the July 12th meeting.  We will be there!  Today, the DC Council will vote on the “Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016.”  If passed, the act will end the antiquated legal doctrine of contributory […]

Read More
Jun 27, 2016

Although we negatively judge our American neighbours repeatedly over their gun laws, when the weapon is a car (and it is used to seriously hurt or kill a cyclist or pedestrian) they are way ahead of us and find our system appalling. A large number of States have already passed Vulnerable Road User Laws and […]

Read More
Jun 23, 2016

On June 22, 2016, the driver who ran down and killed five Kalamazoo cyclists and injured four others was officially brought into a Kalamazoo courtroom and charged with five counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving causing serious impairment. At that court proceeding, it was also revealed that the driver, 50-year-old Charles […]

Read More
Jun 20, 2016

Before heading out for a ride most of us intuitively check our air, brakes, chains and cranks and do a once over of our bikes.  We confirm our helmets are secure, our cell phones and Garmins are charged, and that we have lights, if we think we’ll need them.  If we are going any significant […]

Read More
Jun 17, 2016

In light of the Kalamazoo, Michigan tragedy, it’s so easy to focus on what’s wrong with the world. Several similar incidents this year have hit too close to home. Some friends in North Carolina were also run down in group.  As were clients in in North Augusta, SC.  As our community grows, we experience more […]

Read More
Jun 08, 2016

Since early this morning, my phone has been blowing up with calls, text messages, and e-mails from cyclists concerned, outraged, and simply wanting more information about the recent tragedy in Kalamazoo.  It’s hard for me to think about this tragic collision, but at the same time, it is impossible to escape. Here is just one […]

Read More
rep62
Jun 02, 2016

*** 2d UPDATE, June 5, 2016, noon *** A cyclist emailed Havard to ask him to change his anti-bike position; Havard responded.  His parents not only taught Havard “not to play in the road,” they apparently taught him when you are in a hole, keep on diggin’! We invite you to let him know how […]

Read More
TORONTO, ON - JULY 7: Critical injury lawyer Patrick Brown seen inside the Mcleish Orlando law firm on July 7, 2015. Brown is raising awareness about the lack of regulations at extreme sport facilities around the city.
Jun 02, 2016

Patrick Brown of Bike Law Canada has been nominated for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s 25 Most Influential! We would not only like to congratulate Pat, but ask that you take the time to vote for him due to his efforts advocating for cyclists. Pat is a proud founding member and past director of Cycle Toronto (formerly Toronto Cyclist Union) […]

Read More
Load More