Lucky to Walk Away

The intersection where it happened.

No slamming or screetching or other impact noises alerted the other drivers that I had been hit by a car. The beige sedan practically glided through stopped just after the accident scene where my bike’s back wheel spun idly on Hill street.

The difference of six inches might have put the impact on my left leg instead of my front wheel. Our combined speeds were relatively low, and thankfully (due to an athletic jump away from my wrecked bike) I walked away from the bike unscathed.

I promise, I didn’t intend for this to be a series. If you’ve been tracking my twitter account then you know that I was in a bike/car accident today. It was 5:15 and I was in the bike lane on Packard (pictured above). A car turned right in front of me to head west on Hill. My front wheel bent irrepariably upon the impact with the quarterpanel of his Chevy.

Front wheel broken beyond repair. Fork twisted out of alignment.

As an urban planner, this incident raises compelling questions about the feasability of non-motorized transit. Can we really expect cars and bikes to co-habitate in a city? How should bike commuting be encouraged when there are serious safety risks?  What human factors considerations should be considered when designing “complete streets“?

The Ann Arbor Police arrived quickly (only to witness another car-on-car accident at this intersection). The officer did not know how to address the situation either. It’s not clear who has the right of way between the bike lane and the car lane when both are traveling in the same direction.

See also: Challenging the Commuters