This has been bothering me for a while. It is part of the reason I spend less time on the bike. My days are numbered. I’m convinced that I’m going to get killed by a car while riding my bike.
I’m not sure if it’s just pyschological. I’m getting older. I have a family and children, so the stakes are higher. I’ve been relatively lucky so far. Maybe it’s that the traffic and drivers have gotten worse. Drivers are increasingly distracted. I’ve read the university studies. I have the proof. I’ve watched the drivers checking email on their phones at traffic lights, or texting while driving. (Sure, I’m a little guilty of being a distracted driver myself from time to time, too.) Cars are faster. Quiter. Bigger. More powerful. The roads are worse, especially in the Northeast, especially in the economic downturn, and it’s harder to find a clean, safe line (though this summer it looks like every road I ride is being worked on).
I’ve seen people doing all sorts of things while driving a car. Reading the newspaper. Eating yogurt. Putting on make-up. Brushing and flossing. Flipping through photos. Smoking pot. I’ve had drivers deliberately run me off the road and passengers throw beer cans and eggs at me. I’ve been harrassed verbally. It was worse years ago. Before live broadcasts of the Tour de France and a certain cyclist became a household name, I often heard, “Get off the road, faggot!” Now, I’m more likely to hear, “Go, Lance!” If they even see me.