On a rainy December evening, I headed out to Payless on East Harbor Road in Freeland. It was after 5 p.m., so it was already dark out. I closed in on a vehicle that was going 35-40 mph in the 50 mph stretch of road.
It didn’t bother me; I understand people drive slower when it’s dark out, particularly if it’s raining. I, myself, will usually drive slower at night.
What worried me was every time a car would pass coming in the opposite direction, the vehicle in front of me veered several feet into the shoulder lane. Presumably, to give a greater buffer between their car and the oncoming car.
I’ve lived on the island for a few years now, and it’s astonishing to me how many people I’ve seen walking or riding their bicycles in the dark with no lights or reflective gear at all.
I couldn’t help but wonder what if a person without any lights had been walking in the shoulder lane that night? And being a cyclist myself, I have to trust that drivers stay in their designated lane.
It’s hard to build and keep that trust when you see other drivers steering into the shoulder lane, intentionally or not. By the same token, if I’m walking or biking in the dark, I should take every precaution to let drivers know I’m there.
This comes after just reading an article about two women in separate incidences who had been struck by cars while walking at night in Poulsbo.
We’re all trying to get to our destination safely. Let’s be smart out there.