Hang around enough group rides and you’ll eventually hear someone say: “In cycling, there are the riders that have been hit, and the riders who will get hit.” But the situation isn’t as dire as that adage makes it sound.
Accidents do happen—but not as often as you might think. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s records, there were 48,000 bike-vehicle collisions and 743 cyclists killed by cars in 2013; however, the 2009 National Household Travel Survey estimates Americans collectively take 4 billion bike trips each year. Taken together, that means there’s about a 0.0012-percent chance of getting hit during any one ride.
But what’s it like to be that unlucky cyclist who does have a bad encounter with a car? And how does it change you as a rider? We asked six cyclists who’ve been hit by cars to tell us their stories.