This week has been pretty horrendous for San Diego cyclists in terms of 'accidents'.
Last Saturday, Aug 9th, the Southern California randonneur community lost a great friend and rider when Matthew O'Neill (formerly of Chula Vista, but has been living in Carpinteria while completing is PhD study at UC- Santa Barbara) was hit and killed by a car driven by a teenager while cycling on Foxen Canyon Rd in Santa Maria. Like other randos he was lit up like a Christmas tree and obeying traffic laws, but there isn't much a cyclist can do when drivers decide to not give him the safe space of at least 3 feet... Why is that so much to ask when the consequence is the loss of an upstanding and kind human being just a year shy of a doctorate degree with so much to live for?
On Tuesday morning one of my riding partners was riding at the tail end of a group through Valley Center when he was clipped by a close-passing car (that didn't even have the decency to stop) and ended up with two fractured vertebrae, a concussion and a slew of road rashes on his face and limps. He was lucky to not be more seriously injured and that there were other cyclists around to help, and is now home after spending two nights at Palomar Medical Center.
On the same day a bunch of cyclists from the San Diego Bicycle Club riding laps around Fiesta Island was hit by a drugged out driver speeding her car the wrong way on the one-way road. Eight were injured, one, Juan Carlos Vinolo, remains in critical condition. The driver appears to live in her car and is un-insured... so it isn't likely that she will be covering the medical bills of all the folks she injured. (You can help Vinolo pay for his likely to be astronomical medical bills at Gofundme, though!).
ALL taxpayers own the roads no matter if they are driving or cycling or even just walking. The road belongs to everyone. The driver's license and car-related fees just allow you to operate a car on the public road, because your car can easily cause damage or even kill other people... along with causing most of the pavement damages. Giving cyclists AT LEAST 3 feet of space when passing is not only common sensical and a decent thing to do, it is also the law (especially after September 16th).
A last word on the issue... Cyclists do not cease to be human beings when they get on the roads (that they help pay for and use and damage a lot less of it than drivers do), but some drivers cease to be human beings when they get behind the wheel of a car and instantly lose the sense of responsibility for the well being of others around them.