You all know I’m a big believer in making conditions safer for cyclists through a variety of measures that include safer facilities, education, law enforcement and prosecution to ensure safer driving by motorists.
The fact remains, however, that the only behavior you can control is your own. Defensive driving, which is driving to anticipate the actions of others, applies as much to cycling as it does to driving. Opening a door in traffic is illegal in 40 states and the District of Columbia, for example, but it happens so commonly that we have a name for it when a cyclist is hit by a suddenly open door. Ditto for other common collision scenarios such as The Right Hook and The Left Cross. We can watch for all of these and react accordingly when somebody does the inevitable as a fallible human being.
Very occasionally, you can do everything right and still fall afoul of bad driving. 23 year old Shayla Cypriano was walking her bicycle across the street in San Jose last Thursday when a collision claimed her life. A southbound dump truck on Lincoln was in the light-controlled intersection at Auzerais when a delivery truck on Auzerais struck it and knock it over, directly onto Ms Cypriano. The speed limit on both streets is 25 MPH.
Ms Cypriano leaves behind a toddler. You can read more about her here. She was San Jose’s 17th pedestrian fatality for 2013. Number 16 was a cyclist who ran the railroad crossing gate and was struck by a VTA light rail train near Sunol Street.
Bad week for Cyclists in San Jose – Cyclist hit by light rail, then Ms Cypriano is killed, and then yesterday, another cyclist killed in a hit and run on Taylor St as it passes over Highway 87.
In the last, this highlights the lack of E-W bike routes in San Jose from the area north of downtown (from SJSU to the Airport) to Santa Clara. The only options are Hedding which has a narrow bridge overpass over the Caltrain tracks, or Taylor where the bike lanes that exist on either side of highway 87 disappear to accommodate crossing traffic from all directions getting on/off highway 87. The cyclist was taking one of the only roads available to cross 87/Caltrain tracks, which has terrible bike accommodation, but is the best available.