Another Reason Not To Like ‘Right Turns On Red’

Background Reading

Summary

By Rosemary Regina Sobol
Tribune reporter
1:57 p.m. CDT, May 14, 2013

Bicyclist killed in collision with car in Schaumburg

Ambulance (Tribune illustration)

Ambulance (Tribune illustration)

A woman riding a bicycle was killed during a collision with a car near northwest suburban Schaumburg this morning.

The victim, who appears to be in her 30s, was pronounced dead at 9:30 a.m. at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her identity was not available immediately.

The crash happened about 9 a.m. when a car that had been northbound on Illinois 53 exited onto eastbound Higgins Road (Illinois 72) and hit a bicyclist, according to Illinois State Police Elgin District Trooper Douglas Yorke.

“Apparently he was making a turn and a bicycle was crossing at the same time,”’ Yorke said.

Yorke said it was not immediately known who had the right of way away but the investigation was continuing.

Schaumburg Police Sgt. John Nebl said his department assisted with traffic control but the wreck occurred in the jurisdiction of the state police.

rsobol@tribune.com
Twitter: @RosemarySobol1

TakeAways

Like its counterpart the “Idaho Stop” there are concessions to the impatience of  roadway users for legitimate reasons that get distorted by people who have no idea of the history of the reasoning behind them. Just this past Friday I was driving into the City of Chicago when I witnessed two near collisions by motorists who were impatiently attempting to do a “right turn on red” before considering the efficacy of that move. When motorists make these kinds of mistakes with one another sometimes people die. But more often than not the traffic gets snarled up as confusion sets in and then LEOs descend on the scene to adjudicate between the parties and then assign citations if warranted.

I know this intersection very well having driven it for years on my way to work. I am more than confident that this driver was looking to his left before darting onto the roadway in an attempt to do a “right turn on red“. The cyclists biggest and last mistake was not anticipating that a motorist is stupider than he or she looks at first glance. In such situations peripheral vision is all that they have and by being impatient and trying to force a turn when there is clearly not enough time to do it safely he ends up ending someones life. Stupid and utterly unnecessary.

Cycling is not safe and never really will be. And if putting on a helmet signals that cycling is not safe then so be it. As with everything from childbirth to marriage to skydiving there are risks. No amount of bullshit fakery (like deciding not to wear a helmet or dress in loud colors or use lights or reflectors) will change the fact that you can leave home one morning to enjoy a bit of exercise and find yourself on a gurney being rushed down the hall to an ER.

Be careful out there. Always assume that the asshole behind that wheel is more crazy than he looks. Ride accordingly.

(Note: Pardon my “French“. I’m just taking the language up again after a few decades away from it following College. Maybe I should try and resurrect my German instead.)