Well, as every morning I rode my bike on the bike lane (in German "Mehrzweckstreifen" - the one with the broken line that trucks are allowed to ride over) to the university. Actually I like that bike lane although I already had an accident there in 2007 (a car driver overlooked me and cut me off), but at a different spot. I like it cause there's always a traffic jam that I can pass easily on the bike lane. And the progressive signal system is set up in a way that I have green lights in a row. It is the only street in Vienna that I know where they favor cyclists. Well, I was constantly going around 18-20 km/h which isn't fast, but also not slow. The cars on the left were sitting in a traffic jam. And suddenly there appeared an old lady in front of me that I didn't see before cause the cars blocked my view. She was on a crosswalk, but run a red light. Probably she only saw the standing cars but didn't look out for other road users. So she suddenly appeared in front of me, I shouted and braked hard. She turned her face in my direction but stopped in the middle of the bike lane rather than continue walking. I couldn't maneuver around her cause there was a car to my left and a scaffold to my right. In the last moment I pushed my front wheel to the left so that it didn't hit her frontal. But of course I lost my balance and we both fell. I helped her to get up. She was really confused. I asked her whether something hurts and if I should call an ambulance or accompany her to a doctor. She said it's ok and wanted to walk away. I think she felt ashamed cause it was her fault. I wanted to give her at least my details in case that she suffers from the accident later (I know that this happens), but she didn't want them.
Usually in Austria you only have to report an accident if people got hurt. So at first I thought it was not necessary. But then I kind of felt responsible cause I was on the "stronger" vehicle and reported it to the police. Unfortunately the old lady is gone. I don't worry to much about my injuries, cause they are not severe (although they hurt). But my front wheel is warped and I probably have to get it fixed from my own money.
I just hope that the old lady will not run red lights in the future and watch out for cyclists too. And hopefully she will not tell bad stories about bicycle rodwys. I still feel a bit sorry though. I don't want to hurt people, even not accidentally.
What's the contra bike lanes argument:
- Most pedestrians are not aware of bike lanes and that there are actually cyclists driving there independently of the car lane - they ignore them, trust their ear (you can hear cars, but not bicycles!) and don't look.