In Arizona, drivers are required to leave a minimum safe passing distance of three feet between their vehicle and a cyclist when passing. This law has been on the books since 2000—in other words, drivers have had ten years to familiarize themselves with the law, and adjust their behavior accordingly.
On Wednesday afternoon, February 24, a garbage truck driver in Scottsdale, Arizona hit a 53-year old cyclist with the right front of his truck as she was riding on the “far right side of the road” and he was attempting to pass her.
The cyclist, who suffered “life-threatening injuries including a possible broken back, pelvis, and internal bleeding,” was airlifted to Scottsdale Osborn Hospital.
According to Scottsdale television station ABC 15, “Police said alcohol and speed are not factors in the accident at this time.”
The station reports that “citations are pending and the investigation is ongoing.”
Another case of “I didn’t see her”?
Just another driver who is unacquainted with either common sense or the rules governing the safe operation of his vehicle?
The predictable result of a near-total lack of enforcement?
Whichever is the case, the cyclist will be in our thoughts as she fights for her life. We hope she will be in yours as well.
Join the discussion 2 Comments
When I’m driving, I’m always amazed at the number of other drivers who don’t seem to have a sense of where they are in the lane. Even the ones who aren’t on a cell phone too often drift. Most drivers I’ve mentioned this to say “Yeah, but if there’s a cyclist there I make sure to move over”. Sure, if you see her or him. We already know that if we’re not expecting it, our brains will not alert us to a moonwalking bear.
I have no information about this incident than what was given here, so this is speculation — informed speculation.
Cyclists can **usually** ensure their own safe passing distance by simply riding further left in the lane. If the lane is too narrow for safe sharing, safe operation requires controlling the lane by riding near the middle.
Most novices are afraid to do this and many think the are not allowed to. These are dangerous fallacies. Some police officers believe the fallacies too. We need to work to dispel the fallacies. Let’s work on the education part and forget about trying to pass unenforcable “feel good” laws.