A hit-and-run victim has dedicated himself to improving bicycle safety. John Abate, a former competitive cyclist who lives near San Diego, was riding in a bike lane with a friend. He says he was keeping to his portion of the street when a white SUV sped forward and hit him. Instead of stopping to help, the driver continued driving and left John on the street.
Police never found the driver responsible for his injuries, but John Abate is still viewing the accident as a learning experience. As he recovers, he is sharing ideas on how to prevent accidents like his from happening.
Wider Lanes Might Improve Bike Safety
John works with an organization called Bike Walk Encinitas, which fights to make roads safer for cyclists. While speeding was certainly a factor in the car accident, the organization also thinks that lane size might have played a role.
In the area where Abate was hit, drivers have about 14 feet of space in their lanes. Bike Walk Encinitas is proposing that lanes be narrowed to 11 feet. They believe that with less space, motorists would have to pay closer attention to their driving, which would cause them to travel at slower speeds. If they are correct, this could be a great way to reduce the number of bicycle accidents with cars.
Could This Device Bring Justice for Hit-And-Run Victims?
Abate also has opinions on how to catch drivers who commit a hit-and-run. He is advocating for a new product that serves as both a cycling light and a camera. The camera would document bicycle accidents and hold drivers accountable. Abate believes that had he been using this device during the crash, the driver would have been found.
Of course, both Abate and the organization he works with stress that the best way to improve safety on the road is to the follow the laws, use caution and always wear a helmet. Most cyclists are also drivers, so the easiest way to create a better street is to be more respectful of cyclists when we get behind the wheel ourselves.