Yesterday, a 55-year old Grand Rapids man was hit while traveling on a bicycle in Grand Rapids.
According to media reports, the unnamed bicyclist was hit by a City of Grand Rapids dump truck who was pulling out of a driveway. The driver of the truck says he did not see the bicyclist but stopped when he heard an unusual noise and saw the man laying in the street. Witnesses at the scene said the man was not wearing a helmet and that he was in shock and struggling to breathe before dying.
The incident occurred on the same day as the “Ride of Silence” a bike ride held each year to commemorate the lives of cyclists hit by motor vehicles. According to the website M-Bike.org, there motorists struck 2,160 bicyclists–killing 18–last year in Michigan.
Unfortunately, this incident is a reminder that for all the talk about making Grand Rapids a bicycle friendly city and Michigan’s ranking as a bicycle friendly state, bicycling remains a potentially dangerous means of transportation. As someone who bikes on a daily basis, barely a day goes by where there isn’t a vehicle that passes too close or a car that fails to pay attention and almost hits me. Sadly, this almost always happens in conjunction with insults yelled out the window and obscene gestures coming from the driver, who always views the cyclist as an obstacle to be overcome rather than a legitimate user of the road.