Last night as I was going to pick up the kids there was an accident right between our house and the daycare at Indian Run and Old Denton. There were several fire trucks, ambulances, and police on the scene and as I passed I saw a Honda RC51 (sport motorcycle) upside down and otherwise crushed. On the curb was a silver sedan with the passenger side looking like it was hit by a battering ram.
The motorcycle driver's name was Bryan Dunbar. He died in the ER due to blunt force trauma. The lady driving the silver car was turning left across Old Denton on a yellow blinking yield. Bryan had right of way and either she didn't see him, wasn't paying attention, or thought she could make it. Whether it was distraction, blindness, or ego, it got him killed.
I didn't know Bryan, but I found his name by looking at the tarrant county death records for yesterday. He was only a few years younger than me. He was obviously very proud of his bike as there are several pictures of it on his facebook page. It's the same bike that was crushed and upside down yesterday.
I would say that every tenth time or so that I take my bike out, someone moves into my lane blindly, cuts me off, or turns right in front of me. When I went to pick up my new bike Bryan was driving behind me and saw no less than two (or three?) cars nearly hit me. I typically take the time to look a driver in the eye when they do something like this. I don't flip them off, or start yelling under my helmet, or anything like that. I just look at them and hope they see a human under that helmet.
I have no earthly idea what anyone out there finds so damned important on their phone that they can't wait until they get to where they are going. I struggle to understand why checking blindspots and using turn signals have suddenly become optional. Maybe it is all the new safety features on cars, where if we clip someone or bump into them the biggest problem is the delay it causes us in that afternoon - let insurance sort out the rest.
It doesn't work like that on a bike.
If you look at fatality statistics, more motorcycle deaths are causes my cars turning left across a motoryclists path than any thing else. Intersections and parking lot exists are the most dangerous places for a bike to cross. Not the interstate. Not the freeway. Not the tollway.
I didn't know Bryan Dunbar, but it very easily could have been me.
I know. Some of you are thinking, well, just don't ride your bike then. I can't explain why I ride to anyone. I can say that i don't do it for speed or thrills. I can say that it is the best form of relaxation available to me. Even a short trip to pick up something for the house at Loews is enough to help get my thoughts straight. It's my own form of meditation. Avoiding it because there are ass clowns on the road who have better things to do than worry about my life isn't really a great option. At that point I might as well tell my kids to stay off the sidewalks, don't ride their bikes, or do anything else in public where people can possibly run over them.
Tonight there is a lady at home right now doing whatever it is she does on a Thursday night. Maybe she's just finished dinner and put the kids to bed. Maybe she is out on a date. Maybe she is sitting in bed reading a novel. Whatever it is she is doing, last night she killed someone because she decided to make a left hand turn without looking. And because of that, whatever it was that Bryan Dunbar had planned on doing this evening isn't happening.
I honestly hope she spends the rest of her life living with that guilt.