BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — It was a typical Monday morning for Nicole Estep. She was riding her bicycle to work, Point of Fitness, just like she does everyday.
“Jumped on my bike. Strapped my helmet on, watching the blue sky and the puffy white clouds, and not a care in the world, and I was struck by an SUV,” she said.
Within seconds, Nicole was on the ground. She badly broke her wrist, requiring emergency surgery to repair. She also sustained a severe concussion. Now, almost two months later, she’s telling drivers to treat bikers just like they’re another car.
“I have been clipped before my mirrors. I have been spit on. I’ve had water bottles thrown at me. I’ve had people yell out the window at me and, you know, I have just as much a right to be on the road as a vehicle does,” she argues.
According to PennDot’s Annual Crash Facts & Statistics, the majority of bicyclists’ injuries occurred during daylight hours. In 2017, there was a total of 1,141 vehicle and bike crashes. 21 of those were fatal.
Even Logan Township Police Chief David Reese said he doesn’t ride anymore because he feels unsafe with cars zooming past him.
“Just the fear of riding on the roadways and having the traffic go by you and not appreciate and not respect that 4 foot rule and the fact that the traffic is always sort of crowding you as a bicyclist so that’s something we need to education the public about,” he said.
As for Nicole, she wants folks to put themselves in her position and think about what could happen.
“How do you think that would make you feel if you were the person that caused that accident or altered that person’s life, you know, in that matter? It’s really something that I don’t think a lot of us think about until you’re in that unfortunately, in that situation yourself,” she said.
A split second can change your life.