On July 4, 2012, a cyclist riding westbound on Blossom Hill Road near Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos, CA was crossed by an eastbound motorist who turned left into the path of the cyclist.
This is the classic “left cross” collision and happens because:
- The driver didn’t see the cyclist.
- The driver sees the cyclist but misjudges his speed.
- The driver sees the cyclist but decides to go for it anyway knowing he’ll intimidate the cyclist into stopping.
The driver, Wayne Kwang Kim of Santa Cruz, was ticketed for failing to yield the right of way. The cyclist, Dale Ferrerio of Los Gatos, was moderately injured and was treated at the scene. Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police spokesman police Sgt. Kerry Harris tells drivers to “drive with caution and be watchful for bicyclists because this sort of right-of-way violation happens far too often.”
I’ve been crossed a couple of times. The first time I was a teen riding near the gutter. Passing traffic screened me from view. A driver waiting for a gap in the traffic didn’t see me, shot through the gap and nailed me.
The other episode was a little more recent. This was in a parking lot and the driver simply wasn’t paying attention — I was the invisible gorilla although I was in the middle of the lane. I got a split lip in that incident.
Keri illustrates and describes these left cross scenarios at her website. Not every ‘accident’ is completely avoidable — when a murderous villain like Wayne Kwang Kim comes at you with his speeding Accord as he guns the engine from the suicide lane, there’s not always a lot of time or space to duck and cover. You can’t control what the other idiot does, but if you’re aware of what might happen you can try to watch for the mistakes and hopefully have a little more control on the outcome.
Good reason to have a flashing white light on the front of the bike. I’ve had too many people cross in front of me for just this reason, but never when the white light was flashing.