Avid cyclists have not chosen an easy hobby. In addition to the physical demands, those who take to the road on a bike often find themselves competing to share space with vehicles that can weigh thousands of pounds more and are often traveling at much higher speeds.
Cyclists and those who love them must balance this generally safe and healthy hobby with the fear of a potential crash.
Unfortunately, when they happen, these crashes can be catastrophic. A recent accident involving 17-year-old cyclist Magnus White is a tragic example. The professional cyclist was rising to fame in the mountain bike world when he was struck from behind on a training ride. Enforcement officers state that the 23-year-old driver was not speeding or under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.
We can speculate the cause. Perhaps the driver was distracted, on a phone at the time of the crash or otherwise not focused on the road. Although the answer could help catalyze legislation to increase the safety of the roadways for bikers, it is generally best in these early stages to leave these questions to investigators. Once more information is available, we can lean into potential changes to reduce the risk of similar accidents in the future.
Until then, those of us within the cycling community can help celebrate the memory of this young man by continuing to ride and encourage love of the sport. We can also remind each other of the steps we can take to stay safe:
- Visibility. Make sure to increase visibility when on the road. This can include use of lights and reflectors as well as wearing bright clothing.
- Gear check. Do a quick check of the bike before every ride to make sure it is in good working order. Check everything and adjust the helmet fitting before starting the ride.
- Awareness. Pay attention to surroundings. Make sure that you listen for potential dangers and focus on the environment around you while riding.
Even when someone follows the rules and does all of these things, a crash can still occur. But when this happens there are legal remedies available to hold a driver responsible for their negligence. Although these remedies do not heal our wounds or bring back loved ones, they can help in the healing process and serve two important goals: accountability and deterrence. These legal remedies help to hold the responsible party and their insurance provider accountable for the wrongdoing while also sending a message to the community that we expect drivers to operate their vehicles with care and a failure to do so will come with repercussions.