A young University of Oregon graduate died after being hit by a car while cycling in southern California, according to the advocacy group Bike Portland. Her death is a reminder that for as much progress as Portland has made in becoming a bike-friendly city we, and the rest of the country, still have a long way to go.
According to a local newspaper, the Pasadena Sun, 24-year-old Jocelyn Young’s fatal bike accident occurred when she fell from her bike and was struck and killed by a drunk driver. The paper describes the incident as a hit-and-run, noting that “several witnesses called police to notify them about the accident,” and that one witness followed the suspect into a neighboring city until police officers were able to locate him.
Young was treated by paramedics at the scene of the drunk driving accident but later died in hospital.
In seeking lessons for bikers here in Portland it is worth noting that Young and her boyfriend were riding their bikes along a main boulevard at 1am, according to the newspaper. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that, but it also ought to serve as a reminder of the extra caution cyclists need to exercise when riding at night. The paper does not say what safety procedures Young was observing – and on one level, of course, it does not matter: people should not be driving drunk and they should never leave the scene of an accident.
Nevertheless, it is useful to take this opportunity to remember the precautions night riders are well-advised to take: In addition to helmets (which, obviously, ought to be worn at all times) it is important that bikers who choose to go out after dark do everything possible to make themselves as visible as possible. High-powered halogen bike lights can be expensive, and are sometimes bulky, but offer far more security than smaller, dimmer bulbs. Similarly, those yellow reflective vests can look a bit silly, but they do a lot more to make a cyclist visible than a few reflective stickers on one’s helmet or a flashing red tail light (though, to be clear, one ought to be using those as well). From an Oregon bike accident attorney’s point-of-view it is better to celebrate cycling every day than to have to defend it in court.
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