Wrong-way cyclist causes crash in Independence

According to a story in Tuesday's Independence Examiner, A 9-year-old Independence boy riding the wrong way on Crackerneck Road was hit by a car. He escaped without serious injury.

The driver of the car saw the bicycle approaching but was unable to turn out of the way in time.

The automobile driver in this collision must be commended for driving at a reasonable and proper speed--had the driver been speeding, the boy's injuries would likely have been more serious. If more Missouri drivers would drive at safe and reasonable speeds as this driver did, our streets would be far friendlier and safer for pedestrians and bicyclists--and for motorists!

Unfortunately, the fault in this collision must clearly be placed on the cyclist. Many cyclists (and parents of young cyclists) have forgotten that wrong-way cycling is not only illegal, but far less safe than riding on the right side of the road, with traffic.

Accident data clearly shows that wrong-way cycling leads to more car-bike crashes and the crashes that do happen are more severe.

Automobile drivers do not expect to see fast-moving bicycles coming towards them in their lane. And, at average bicycle speeds on residential streets, driver reaction time is more than cut in half by wrong-way cycling.

Drivers pulling out from side streets and driveways do not expect fast-moving bicycles coming towards them near the edge of the street from the wrong direction. Drivers typically don't even look there before pulling into the road.

Because, in wrong-way cycling, the cyclist and the automobile are moving towards each other, their speeds at the time of impact are added together. So the forces of impact of a wrong-way crash are as much as 700% higher than a similar crash in which the cyclist is riding on the right side of the road, with traffic.

Bicycling is, in general, a very safe sport. Considering the "big picture" of overall health and safety, bicycling is safer than driving and as safe or safer than walking. But cyclists who follow the rules of the road--for instance, riding on the right side of the road, with traffic--are far safer yet.