By Brooke Warren
A mountain guide, photographer, and cyclist had a sleepy moment on the road that resulted in her seriously injuring another rider. Here’s what she wants every driver to know.
One of the most dangerous things you’ll do today is drive to the trailhead,” my colleague often reminds clients when we guide them to the summit of Mount Rainier, Washington. People commonly respond to this with laughs, but it’s no joke. While we climb through high-consequence zones, where rockfall, icefall, cold, or a crevasse could result in injury or death, the risk of getting hurt from a human-caused mistake on the road is often far greater.
This idea was once an abstraction to me. I bike, run, rock climb, and ski, migrating seasonally in search of ideal conditions for each activity. Much of the year, I travel and live out of my car, since my work keeps me in the field long enough that renting a home isn’t cost-effective. I care about cyclist safety and have been a proponent for adding bike lanes in towns where I’ve lived. I’m angered by how many cyclists are injured and killed each year, and frustrated by the fact that people on bikes are often blamed for crashes in news stories. I used to assume that driversin bike crashes lacked remorse and were likely people who might have made jokes about “scoring points” for hitting someone on a bike.
And then, a few years ago, I crashed into a road biker during a near fatal lapse of attention. I’m here to tell you that you could be that driver, too.
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