Skip to content

Letter: Dear driver: Did nearly killing me on my bike frighten you?

Editor: To the driver I encountered at about 8 a.m. on Jan. 10. I've been wondering if perhaps you've thought about me since that morning.


To the driver I encountered at about 8 a.m. on Jan. 10. I've been wondering if perhaps you've thought about me since that morning. 

You remember me, don't you? 

I was riding my bike north on Willingdon in my red cycling jacket with my very bright headlight. It was my right of way, but I always feel a bit nervous as I approach Penzance Drive, as visibility is poor for the drivers headed west towards Willingdon.

I ring my bell and sometimes call out loudly to make sure that I'm seen, but you seemed impatient as you came to an abrupt stop well in front of the white stop line. You sped up behind me and as I signalled to turn left, I looked over my shoulder and was startled to see you only a few feet behind me.

I looked forward again and realized I had overshot my turn. I veered sharply left and had that slow-motion feeling as I felt my bike tires skid and lose traction. 

Down I tumbled onto the road. Time sped up again and I was relieved to note that you didn't hit me. Three ladies who were out for their morning walk (I've passed them before on my daily commute) happened to be on the sidewalk and ran to me, helping me and my bike up and guiding me off of the road.

They thought you had hit me and were indignant and distressed that you had driven away. I assured them that you did not have contact with me and I was OK. My chain fell off, a reflector had fallen off my left pedal and my rear light had snapped off, but I was fine. I had a few big bruises on my leg and suffered a stiff neck the following weekend, but physically I recovered well.  

However, the reason I had to call my husband after those kind ladies reluctantly left me (after I'd repeatedly assured them that I'd be fine) was I couldn't stop crying because the incident was frightening. 

Did it frighten you? 

When you reached your place of employment that day did you think of me and wonder if I made it to my workplace? Did you regret not stopping? I think most people think they are fundamentally good people and I wonder if the split-second choices you made that morning (to try to intimidate me by tailgating, and then not pulling over to see if I was OK after my fall) have given you any uncomfortable feelings of remorse. 

I ride my bike every day to work, not only to save money and to get exercise, but because I believe it is vital that we all do our part to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. 

I have two teenage children who hug me tightly before I ride to work, telling me they love me and to please be careful. 

You may have been a rush that morning, but I was slowing you down by maybe five seconds at most as I followed the rules of the road.  

So I ask of you: please be more thoughtful around cyclists. We are vulnerable. If I hadn't skidded to the left, you may have accidentally hit me as I fell. 

It's not far-fetched to imagine that your car could have killed me; commuting cyclists are well-aware of this risk. This would have had a major negative impact on your own life and you would have destroyed my family. Show compassion for your fellow humans.  

Karen Soothill, Burnaby