Let’s Be Careful Out There!

Sometimes, good lane positioning (being at least three feet away from the curb or painted line), good visibility (bright colors, reflectors and lights) and good reflexes just aren’t enough to prevent a crash.


On Leah’s way home from work the other night, a giant SUV darted in front of her as she was riding down Florida Avenue in central Tampa. No turn signal — no warning. The SUV made a hard right turn just in front of her, and Leah got to experience firsthand the dreaded “right hook”. Grabbing a fistful of brake wasn’t enough…and Leah bounced off the rear fender of the truck before going down. The momentum of the collision carried Leah with the truck into the turn, keeping her from falling out into the travel lane of the busier road. She’s ok, though…just some scrapes, a deep bruise on her elbow and a smaller one on her hip. She’s still gung-ho to ride, but related to me that when the truck’s driver stopped to see if she was alright, it was less out of concern that she might have hurt someone and more out of concern that she might get into trouble for her actions. Nice, huh?

Leah was so stunned by the incident that she didn’t think to get the license plate or name of the driver. No one else was around and it was getting dark, so a couple salty words were exchanged and both parties went their separate ways.

So, everyone, let’s be careful out there — all the preparation in the world cannot prevent every collision. And remember, if something like this happens to you, PLEASE have the presence of mind to exchange information with the driver or at least try to get the complete license plate of the offending vehicle, followed by a call to your local law enforcement agency to report the incident.


  1. Shek

    I try to control the lane when a right turn is coming up. Even then I have had two situations where I did not control enough and a truck got beside me. Luckily, in both cases, the drivers saw me in time and slowed down so I could go by.
    Now, I control more often and I have blinkers on my helmet, white in front and red in the back.

    Be safe out there!

  2. Moe

    Man, I hate when dumb ass drivers don’t use turn signals. WTF, how hard is it to move a little lever??? Anyhow, thank God Leah is OK, and here’s a little tip: Always carry a cheap digital camera.

  3. Iron Man

    Welcome to the brotherhood (sisters included—personhood?) of those hit by cars. I am glad as well to know you’re OK. Camera cell phones should be standard equipment in a cyclists tool kit, to call when in trouble and shoot photos of offenders.

  4. Mike Myers

    Ouch. But she was pretty lucky, considering what could have happened. Since I got hit, I’m compulsive about controlling the lane. I constantly check my mirror and if I even THINK a car is going to do something stupid, I drift left. I have no problem taking three feet of the lane if I think I need to.

    Granted, I don’t live in Tampa….. 🙁

  5. Bill

    This (in Georgia, anyway) is an accident between two vehicles. Please insist on getting an accident report if you are right-hooked, doored, or are in any other collision with another vehicle, motorized or not.

  6. Ghost Rider

    Amen to that, Bill. Still, in the heat of the moment, cyclists are often stunned and don’t have the presence of mind to call the cops.

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