They can’t see a thing, but they just keep driving. IMO, this is a product of our complacency about driving safety and low standards for personal responsibility.
A year ago, Laura Ann Ugolini was killed by a sun-blinded motorist in Umatilla, FL while riding her bike along the edge of CR 450.
Friday in Orlando. Approaching the opening of the new Amway Arena on Church Street, a sun-blinded motorist rear-ended two OPD horses ridden by volunteers. He told officers he didn’t see the horses because the sun’s glare was in his eyes and his visor was down.
Friday in Milwaukee, WI, a sun-blinded motorist hit two bicyclists. Cyclist Jeff Littmann, died yesterday from his injuries. Here’s the motorist’s statement:
“I was going under the speed limit, about 40 mph because it was very hard to see. I made sure to be in my lane because I couldn’t see oncoming traffic or anything much more but (estimate) 10 feet in front of me. I didn’t see anyone then all of a sudden boom I hit two bicyclists.”
The story says the cyclists were tracking near the white line. Be aware that a driver who can’t see ahead is more likely to instinctively steer toward the right edge of the road. That is not to say the cyclists would have been seen if riding farther left, that really depends on the exact conditions.
Nothing absolves a driver from the duty to exercise due care.
Despite lip-service about cell-phone use, it’s become culturally acceptable to not drive with due care. The majority mentality about stuff like this is that it’s just an unfortunate “accident” that could happen to anyone (because we all do it). When the majority identifies emotionally with the perpetrator, the victim has little hope for justice.
But we can avoid being victims.
Here’s your biannual defensive driving reminder about the low sun.
If you ride East in the morning and West in the evening, this is the time of year when the time and alignment of the sun is most likely to converge and create an overtaking hazard for you. If you ride the opposite direction, you need to be aware that crossing motorists may not see you. Mighk and I have both written longer posts about this:
The Blinding Sun: Check out the photo above. See the cyclist? I didn’t either while I was taking the photo!
Beware the Equinox: Some more strategies from Mighk.