There seems to be a constant struggle between bicyclists and motorists in New York City. Motorists often view bikers as getting in their way and slowing down the flow of traffic. Bikers can legally ride in the right lane of traffic, but it can feel unsafe for them when motorists drive too closely to them.
Recently, bikers’ fears were justified when a drunk driver drove through a group of about 100 bikers. Eleven bicyclists were injured by the accident, and at least one of those riders was critically injured.
According to accident reports, the car turned onto the road from a blind corner and crashed into the group of cyclists. Because there were no skid marks, it was difficult to determine how fast the car was driving. However, a few bikers confirmed that the woman was talking on her phone before the accident.
After turning the corner, she allegedly slowed down, before speeding up and slamming into the group of bikers. Several bikers went flying through the air, and at least one rider was dragged under her car. Even after driving into the pack of bikers, the driver did not slow down.
The driver was arrested for drunk driving, and she is currently in jail on a $15,000 bail.
The group of bikers was taking part in a weekly midnight ride. The group rides often attract more than 50 people. Because there is less traffic, it is easier for large groups to stay together. However, the riders are also more at risk for getting hit by drunk drivers. One rider stated, “If you’re [riding] at 2 in the morning, that’s when all the DUI drivers are likely to be out.”
Although this group was lucky that the car-bike accident did not cause any fatal injuries, the close call is alarming. The accident also does nothing to help improve the already tense relationship between bikers and motorists.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Driver crashes into pack of Los Angeles bicyclists,” Robert Jablon, 16 June 2011