Within 24 hours two persons were killed in Sweden last week riding their bicycles. Not in a terror attack. Not because of hate. It wasn´t about revenge. Or adultery or any other all too common reason for killings.
It happened for no reason in particular, it might seem. All involved was doing what they were supposed to do that time of day. Riding a bike, driving a car to work. A truck to the next delivery stop.
Dies when truck turns right
Then, at about 6.30 am as the person in the truck turns, the person on the bike gets stuck under the heavy vehicle. Dies later.
No one wanted that to happen. The truck driver didn´t, I´m sure. The cyclist or his or her friends and family didn´t, of course. Neither did the maker of the truck nor the politicians who has the power to plan and build the roads and other infrastructure of the city. Correction: are obliged to do that.
Yet it happened. An accident, they say. But that is in a sense to say it is ok. Accidents happen, right? Well, this kind of ”accidents” should never happen. Actually, this wasn´t an accident.
This happened because it is in the system.
A blind driver is ok
A truck driver evidently has no possibility to check what is on the right side of the truck. He simply has no view of that space. So each time the driver makes a right turn he or she takes a chance. And for some reason that is considered ok by the truck maker, by law makers, by society.
We are taught in driver´s education to always be vigilant, to always know what is going on in every situation we find our selves in. We are taught to always look in the dead angle before we make a turn. In fact, you will definitely flunk the practical driving test if you fail to do so.
But when you´re driving a 10 ton truck – heck, just turn that wheel and hope for the best!
When people tell me they’re too scared to ride a bike in the city I always go: Oh no, no! It’s not dangerous at all!
The big picture says: ride!
Well. Until the bike infra is planned and built for real world cycling, and vehicles that make drivers blind to the traffic is banned, it evidently is dangerous. To the degree that you could get killed.
Now, bike advocates wouldn’t´t want this message to air. Simply because in the long run and when we look at the big picture, not biking is a bigger threat to your health and life. Statistically.
But the facts are there. The way the system is set up today could get you killed just because you are riding a bike. So when you get up on that ride of yours – and you should of course – make sure you make it. Because for now, no one else will.