My first day back in the United States, the very first car trip I take (after jump starting my car, God help you if you don't drive them for 60 days) Just as I am acclimating myself back to American roads, I slammed on my breaks. The Ford Mustang driver in front of me had hit a cyclist. I did not see exactly what happened, but I did note that it occurred as the driver of the Mustang was pulling his car onto 198 from a curb cut entrance to an apartment complex.
The boy was okay, a couple nasty legions, but the bike was ruined. I offered my phone number and got the heck out of there, partly because I was in a hurry, and partly because I didn't want to take anyone's side int this one. After all, I didn't actually see what happened. The Mustang operator was polite and offered assistance, but when they you (probably about 19 or so) wanted to call the police, both occupants of the Mustang and another driver who had stopped after the incident insisted that the cyclist was at fault.
Again, I did not see the actual accident, but I can tell you for sure that on MD-198 in Laurel and Maryland City, the planners of the road were probably at fault. 198 is a six lane highway wrought with curb cuts. The sidewalks are widely traveled, but are only about four feet wide. And, in typical Prince George's and Anne Arundel County fashion, there are no bicycle lanes.
Ironically, as I was driving down the road, I was thinking about the best way to write about my recent travels in Europe and how easy it is to get around without a car. This was a sobering reminder of where I live, and how unwelcoming a place it can be. unless, of course, you are in your car.