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Thursday, October 27, 2005
Bicycle crashes In the past week three people have come into the shop and complained about being hit by cars. In one instance two people had their front wheels nearly destroyed by a motorist who didn't look right before turning into them as they tried to get by on the sidewalk. They didn't report the crash to the police, shrugging when I asked them why not. The didn't think the police would do anything anyway.
The other person was riding in the road when a motorist passing at about 45 mph hit him with a rear-view mirror. He was able to avoid falling, but received quite a blow. He got a partial license number, and another motorist followed the offending driver, who didn't stop, and got the full tag number. The cyclist said that the police didn't seem to want to pursue it. Upon further discussion, it appears that the cyclist didn't want to file charges; he merely wanted the motorist to talk to him about the event. The police insisted that unless he filed charges, there was nothing they could do.
Crashes should always be reported. The event will be recorded and will appear in future statistics about bicycle crashes. Otherwise a true picture of the number of crashes that really occur will not be possible, and police and others can say that it's not a problem, that it doesn't happen that often. Most of the people who have discussed crashes with me have said that it wasn't reported. The Florida Bicycle Association has some good information about why bicycle crashes should always be reported.
Accident vs. crash—Notice that I didn't call the events accidents. An accident is “an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance”, something that couldn't be avoided. Most accidents have a cause and can be avoided.
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