I’ve been riding bicycles off and on for years, and I was riding quite a lot before I began driving. I’d also been hit on my bike before I began driving. But since I’ve been driving, I’ve never been in an accident, save for one incident where someone backed into me. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve avoided someone hitting me because they weren’t paying attention. I never had any formal driver’s training, though, and I only had my learner’s permit for a few weeks before I took my driving test and passed, with flying colors.

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While I attribute my knack for passing a driver’s test to my mom, who taught myself and my four siblings to drive, and because I was the youngest, I always tagged along when she was teaching one of them to drive. While I was not a gearhead when I was young, I still absorbed everything my mom taught my siblings, and I learned from their mistakes. I learned from my oldest sister to persevere when learning to drive a manual (she still hasn’t learned how, she gave up when she was my age). I learned from my second oldest sister to not speed excessively in a car with poor handling. I learned from my middle sister to not drive when I’m super sick. And I learned from my brother to commit to decisions when driving.

While all of those lessons have helped me immensely, I think riding road bikes, and being hit twice, has taught me to super vigilant while driving, and to always assume people are not paying attention. I find that’s the best advice to give to any driver: always assume drivers are not paying attention. Now, you might think that people would pay more attention to the loud and obnoxious Mercedes, or the large silver VW, but you’d be wrong. While a bike is a lot smaller than a car, the people that hit me would have still hit me in my car because they both shared something in common: they weren’t looking.

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While I never made the connection to why I got hit, and why I drive so defensively, it all makes sense now. Being hit twice while on my bike has a strange effect like that. So hopefully cyclists won’t rely on people using the Dutch Reach to not hit them, and instead rely on themselves to not get hit and die.