Longmont cyclist hit by a car at RR Crossing – driver did not stop

rr-tracks-drawing_group2By Lauren Greenfield

Last Friday, I was hit by a car on my bike. First time. Ever. I’m totally fine.  A bit shaken up.  Heading down Sunset Street (my first time, coincidentally, taking Sunset all the way South from 9th Ave. since the bridge has re-opened), in the right lane of two available southbound lanes.

Crossing the railroad tracks south of Ken Pratt on a 90 degree angle as I always do (which forces me left into the lane), I was hit hard on the left in the knuckles by a black SUV – think it may have been an Acura.

sunset-rr

Totally lost my balance, but, due to ( I believe) many many years of bike handling skills was able to right myself, though an inexperienced rider would have likely gone down.

As I did so as I was “thrown” into the left (still Southbound) lane, just in front of a silver car who was HONKING at me (I’m super lucky he wasn’t going just a tad faster, then I likely wouldn’t be writing this now).

laurenSo, getting into the far right hand lane again, completely shaking and freaked out, weird thing – NOBODY stopped.

Not the car that hit me (it was a fairly loud hit) nor anyone who saw it.  Weird?

And now that I’ve had a chance to process my little bike/car conflict, I realize that no one stopped because no one saw or knew that I was hit. The silver car in the left lane that honked at me and slowed down surely wondering why I was seemingly, A) drunk and practically falling over on the bike, and, B) in the left hand lane on my bike wasn’t aware that there had been an impact. Likely the only one who knew that she hit me was the SUV driver (who could possibly have been oblivious?) and me.

How often does this happen?  How can we make track crossing safer for cyclists?

And who would hit someone and not stop?? After days of processing, and in avoidance of that intersection and still with bruised knuckles, I think that only someone who didn’t know she just hit someone wouldn’t have stopped. Hopefully.

Three bruised knuckles, but I’d call it a pretty damned lucky day to be able to talk/write about it . . .

Be safe – and make good choices (and try not to pass cyclists when you’re driving a car!)

(Editor’s note: I ride this crossing at least once a week, as a main north-south corridor; there is no bike lane here, per the Google Maps photo. The only choice as a cyclist is to take the lane. This SUV should not have been attempting to pass a bike within the lane.)

11 thoughts on “Longmont cyclist hit by a car at RR Crossing – driver did not stop

  1. Sunset near the RR tracks is tricky going South, and I am always concerned that I am crossing the rails at less than 90 degrees to avoid going too far in the lane. One day I may do a face plant. I am very glad you survived intact.

    A lot of times I try to put my bike in the middle of the right hand lane, to keep yahoos from squeezing past me, and sending me into the curb. And Sunset may be even more dangerous when cars pass you near the cemetery, because of the curved hill.

    I wish sunset was 2 lanes, with a turn lane in the middle. This would leave some room for bike lanes, or at least a shoulder.

  2. A month ago, a speeding car turned into me while I was riding through a quiet residential neighborhood in Denver. I went over the windshield and into the street… the car sped away and I got a concussion and a trip to the ER.

    I’m glad your accident, and mine, wasn’t worse. Let’s make our streets safer for cyclists. There’s no reason our streets should force bike-car conflicts.

    1. Way to be brave with your veiled threat behind a null name. I pay my taxes to use the road, so try and take me out and see what happens. Perhaps 303 has someway to identify your IP and you to report you to the authorities for investigation into the multiple hit and runs of bikes.

    2. Most cyclists do have a license to operation vehicles on roadways. They also most likely have a job, car and buy fuel thus paying for those roads.

  3. Mant Longmont drivers have become a bunch of ill-tempered, rude, nasty and hateful jerks. Oblivious to anyone other than themselves. They don’t seem to know road & driving etiquette; or, more than likely just don’t care. Many of them think they are the center of the universe using no signals, pulling out right in front of you as they take a right on red, speeding, talking on their cells and texting. Frankly cyclists and polite drivers are in their way and we are just a nuisance to them. After all, they seem to be the most important beings on the planet; and with those credentials, they feel we should be grateful for a “brush” with greatness. I am glad you survived. Many do not.

  4. What’s more dangerous, crossing in a straight line, and dong a little bunny hop to clear the tracks, or crossing at a diagonal out in traffic?

    1. 2 things, not everyone is comfortable bunny hopping and we are traffic. This was not the fault of the cyclists, it was driver who refused to move to pass.

  5. Longmont should either dump one lane and put in a two-way protected bike lane or install BMUFL signs encouraging riders to take the whole lane and to educate if possible drivers that this is legal, but Longmont is quickly losing it’s bicycle friendliness, so I expect neither to ever happen.

  6. The 9th Avenue railroad crossing E of Airport Road is even worse due to the acute angle the tracks make with the street: it takes the whole width of the lane to cross them at a 90 degree angle. A cyclist was hit by an overtaking car there within the past year. We need some signs reading “Do not pass bikes on tracks”.

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