http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: A Day In Billings And A Bicycle Accident

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Day In Billings And A Bicycle Accident

Seems when Michael and Nat went to see the dermatologist in Billings the other day the doctor found another nasty spot on Nat’s nose—so he needed yet another MOHS procedure.  The man isn’t gonna have a nose left at this rate, I think this is his fourth or fifth MOHS procedure on either his nose or forehead.  I got Nat settled in at Billings Clinic and I was off to run errands—oil filters for the Honda ATV’s requested by the cowboy, returned some things to Coldwater Creek and Chico’s and was off to Costco when I witnessed something which made me shake!!

OK, I am stepping into the bear pit—here goes.  When we were traveling to Oregon and again once we were in the state of Oregon, we traveled on a lot of narrow, winding, steep, two lane roads.  I posted on Facebook, “ Can someone please explain to me--and I am not being nasty--the attraction of riding a bicycle along the side of a VERY crooked, narrow, steep highway, being passed by semi trucks, huge motorhomes and a zillion cars??? Yes, bicycles share the road but in a confrontation with a semi or motorhome, you are going to lose!!! So, what is the attraction?? We came around a blind corner doing about 30 miles per hour to find a bicycle right in front of us and a car coming at us--nowhere to go, Michael was able to stop this heavy beast just in the nick of time.” 

I was being serious, I want a bicyclist to explain to me the attraction—it is such an incredibly dangerous thing to do riding on those roads where traffic traveling faster than you can possibly pedal has nowhere to go when encountering a very slow moving bicycle in their lane.  Yes, Michael and I used to ride a motorcycle but at least in that case you have a motor and stand a fighting chance of getting out of the way.  One of the happiest days of my life was when we sold that motorcycle!  I rode to please Michael and yes there were days I enjoyed riding tremendously but there were many days I feared for our lives!

OK, the title of the blog, a bicycle accident.  This person was riding on the sidewalk, with the traffic and with the traffic lights—as he went to cross an intersection in the crosswalk, again with the traffic, a man in a pickup truck with a red light in front of him pulled into the crosswalk and hit this bicyclist.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw this man go flying, my lane of traffic is heading in the opposite direction so I am watching this scene unfold with part of my mind, the bicyclist stands up so I knew he probably was not seriously injured, other people were stopping so I went on my way. 

This has nothing to do with what Michael and I experienced on our vacation but it certainly made me shake!!  I don’t know what the legality of riding a bike on the sidewalk then into the crosswalk is—the bicyclist was doing what he probably thought safest—riding on the sidewalk is safer than riding with traffic doing 35 miles per hour.  It made me stop and think too—that could just as well have been me in that truck—I could have hit the bicyclist while distracted by something else such as my cellphone.  I try not to use my phone when in city traffic—today I vowed NOT to use my phone when in city traffic, it can wait!  It is also against the law to talk on your cell phone within the Billings city limits but I see people doing it all the time!

Dr. Lund set a record today I think—Nat’s appointment was at 10am and I returned him to his house by 2:30pm—this procedure was a lot simpler than some of the other ones Nat has had. 


  1. I had a close encounter like that in Germantown, TN. I approached a green light just as a bicycle crossed the street in front of me. He looks up as me and other traffic approach and realizes that he has just run the red light. Scared me!
    My FIL had had several of those procedures, he will probably be running a race with Nat on losing his nose.

  2. If I see a bicyclist anywhere around I try to be extra cautious because I don't trust them. I also don't trust motorcycles and really keep an eye on them also. But still, it can happen in an instant. Jim wanted a motorcycle and I told him I couldn't handle the worry. Thank goodness he loved me more.

  3. We have bike trails in our area and there are still a lot of bicycle riders who use the road. It's so irritating! They're usually the ones with the really expensive lightweight bikes and special riding clothes. Not sure why they don't use the bike trails - the trails quite nice, well maintained and you don't run the risk of getting hit by a car or holding up traffic.

  4. I agree with you on these bicyclists trying to compete with the big engines. Around here, we have narrow bike lanes that abut the road. This mostly works except when two or more bikes try to ride side-by-side in the lane, competing for road space with traffic. Or when bikes approach a stop signal or sign and sail on through regardless of being legal or not. I often wonder if those helmets they wear make them think they are supermen/women, able to withstand the mighty forces of gas powered vehicles.

  5. I've been a cyclist for 40 years. I have been hurt twice by cars. The first was a person who over took me on a downhill where I was doing the 25 mph speed limit, pulled in front of me and STOPPED to make a right turn. I went down trying to avoid him. The second was when a car WITH A STOP SIGN, ran it, pulled into the street and hit me from behind. These were both low traffic areas out in the boonies. It can happen anywhere.
    The cyclist you saw being hit was trying to do the safe thing. I personally don't ride sidewalks, according to the law I AM A SLOW MOVING VEHICLE, with the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle. Think of me as a tractor. The guy on the bike could just as well have been a pedestrian. We're in the Seattle area now, and drivers don't seem to understand that they must STOP at a red light before making a right turn, and that people in the crosswalk have the right of way.
    Why do we ride on those steep twisty roads? Sometimes it's the only way to get where we're going. Maybe it's scenic, or maybe we want a workout on a steep road. Yes, I know it's aggravating. However, if you're on a road where you know bikes are likely to be, I can only suggest you slow down on the blind corners. There could be a tractor around the corner.
    I understand why the sight of cyclists running a red light irritates people in cars. I don't do it for that very reason. If I expect to be treated like a vehicle, I have to act like one. However, consider the fact very real effort must be expended to get going after a stop on a hill. If a cyclist approaches an intersection, determines there is no cross traffic, it's a difficult decision to not press on, and sustain momentum. I see both sides of the issue. Some states are legalizing a "rolling stop" for bikes, to allow conservation of momentum. I don't like it because it makes bikes' behavior unpredictable for the people in cars.
    Why are the fast skinny guys (and girls) avoiding the bike paths? Because they are dangerous to the fast skinny riders. The fast guys can be riding 20mph. The paths are multiuse. There are dogs on long leashes that allow them to roam the width of the path, there are young children who don't stay on their side of the path, there are people with strollers walking 3 or 4 abreast who are insulted to be asked to move over. I feel safer on the road. However, I am depending on the people in the vehicles to put down their phones, quit texting, pay attention, and give me the three feet of clearance that has now become the law in many states. I'm trusting you to not get out of your parked car without looking behind you and opening the door in front of me. Basically, every person on a bike is trusting every person in a vehicle not to kill them. Trust me, we do not believe we have super powers. We know only too well from experience that the vehicle always wins.

  6. I think riding a bicycle anywhere is far more dangerous than a motorcycle. That said, bicycle riders sometimes seem to forget how vulnerable they are by taking up too much room on the road.

    1. When you come up behind a bike "taking too much room on the road", what does that force you to do? You either slow down and wait, or you go around, moving into the oncoming traffic lane when safe. It's called taking the lane, often done to prevent cars from passing in the lane when it's not safe to do so. And sometimes, it's just people riding stupid. However, we always know how vulnerable we are.

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