In January of last year I noticed I was having a lot of close calls with cars on my bike, which I use for 95% of everything I do around town. It became so bad that first week that I decided to start collecting the information, which you’ll find below.

Despite all of these close calls, I was not hit in 2018. It saddens me that I think of this as an accomplishment. I was hit twice in 2017. Both times I escaped with minor injuries and no damage to my bicycles.

It is worth noting I am not perfect, but I do go out of my way to follow all laws and chastise other cyclists who do not (if we want to be respected as users of the roadways, we can’t be ignoring laws). I did make one mistake this year that didn’t end in a close call, but did end in a very frustrated driver. My apologies to the guy turning right off the Broadway Bridge into downtown in early December; that bike light is really hard to see if you’re not fully focused on it and I clearly had a lapse in attention.

In daylight, I ride with a blinking front light of no less than 650 lumens and a blinking rear light. In the evenings I ride with a steady front light and a rear that is always on, but with a regular strobe. I also wear reflective clothing and shoes. I’d like to think I’m highly visible, but I know there’s more I can do, and I’m currently in the market for the helmet mount for a second headlight I have; a lot of my visibility issues come from my sources of visibility being blocked. With a light on my head, I now have strong visibility rising above those blockers.

In late August my commute changed to one that has me not dealing with as much vehicular traffic. Unfortunately, along with fewer cross streets and chances for incidents come higher speeds and larger vehicles (semis going 50mph with no physical barrier). If an accident were to occur, it’d be a lot messier.

I’ve created a Google Map with the locations, descriptions, and dates of all the incidents. The plan is to add a new layer to the map every year and keep it up to date.

My November 15 ride was noteworthy in that I recorded five close calls. This was rare warm, sunny, and dry fall day. I was on my road bike, riding hard, but with all my regular visibility and lights. Rides like this make me question what I do.

Riding a bicycle amongst two-ton beasts being commanded by folks not always paying attention is a dangerous thing. I wish it weren’t, but I’m not about to give it up. It often saves time, it saves some carbon from ruining your children’s futures, keeps me skinny and able to eat all the ice cream, and just plain feels good.

2019 has started off much better in the safety department than last year. Chain crossed it stays that way.