I was the victim of a hit-and-run today. I am lucky to be alive. UPDATED

August 5, 2020: Hi. Thank you for visiting, and welcome if you are new here as a result of media coverage of the crimes against me while I was Traveling at the Speed of Bike home on July 13, 2020. My body, back rack, and BikeNoodle were all hit by a person operating a 4,500-pound SUV who then did not stop — you can see my body camera video of it below in both real-time and slow-motion. I miraculously did not fall, which saved my life.

In order to focus on something positive following this life-threatening experience, I am currently publishing a series titled “You Go, Girl” which features 31 women (one each day in August) across the USA who are making it more welcoming to ride bikes. See the series-to-date here. Please contact me if you have someone to recommend. Together we can make things better.

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Dear Mayor and City Council: I want you to know I am lucky to be alive after being the victim of a hit-and-run crime on Tilly Mill Road today while riding my bike home. I was able to call 911 and report it. Response by police and paramedics was swift and respectful, which was appreciated.

City of Dunwoody Officer Forman is trying to identify the owner of the car in order to press appropriate charges, which I expect will include the expanded charges under the Vulnerable Road User ordinance. Here is the footage I captured on my GoPro body camera:

 

I have been asking for safe-access-for-all on this road since this city started (for almost 12 years now), including when I served on the first Comprehensive Land Use Plan steering committee and ensured being bike friendly was baked into the DNA of our city as a value. It has been frustrating (and life-threatening) waiting for that to become a reality, however.

 

Tilly Mill Road includes a community center and several places of worship and is the route to numerous schools, senior homes, and our city’s biggest park. The unprotected bike lane you are planning for part of it does not meet NACTO guidelines for speed and volume of motor vehicles, does not provide safe-access-for-all, and does not address the totality of the danger of this road. Immediate pop-up tactical urbanism solutions, based on best practices from elsewhere and tailored for our local needs, should be considered. Lives are at stake. Mine was today.
Thank you for all you do. It matters. You matter.
Trust the journey,

Pattie Baker
TravelingAtTheSpeedOfBike.com

UPDATES: 

Because of my video, the police were able to identify the driver and serve her with three charges: leaving the scene of an accident (shout-out to the City of Dunwoody Police Blotter folks — let’s start using the word “crash”, please, as that has become industry standard when reporting about these incidents); a lane violation failure to provide 3-feet-clearance when passing, as is state law; and a Vulnerable Road User violation (my suburb-city is the only city in the southeastern USA with such an ordinance, which went into effect May 1).

In less than 24 hours, I received more than 45 comments and 40 shares on Facebook (mostly to cycling groups throughout Georgia) and more than 2600 views of this blog post. I want to thank everyone for such supportive comments and kind shares. This makes me feel like good may come from it and perhaps change will happen where lives will be saved. I had to sleep on these next comments so bear with me a moment.

Ok . . . You may join me in finding it interesting, however, that it took less than 24 hours as well for me to get emails telling me what an unsafe, bad bike rider I am because I was not “taking the lane” in this particular incident, and that I was not “visible” (despite a 3-foot yellow pool noodle, which sticks out 2.5 feet to the left off the back of my bike; front and back lights on strobe during the middle of the afternoon on a clear day; and a neon yellow bag across my back). I’m mentioning this because (1) it often occurs to women when we are an expert and/or a clear victim, and (2) it is unwelcome. So, please, let’s not do that. Let’s focus on the fact that:

A person operating a 4,500-pound vehicle hit a 118-pound human being (who was legally in our shared public space) and kept going; that could have been someone you know or love on that bike; and we hold the power in our hands to make things better.

These words go through my head now and always, and I continue to be optimistic:

More and more people of all ages and abilities are riding bikes during this global pandemic (see Bikes Are the New Toilet Paper). There’s room for everyone, as many cities around the world are proving — and creating access can be a source of pride, not divide. As always, I am willing to help.

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I created this Public Service Announcement in 2015 and have been sharing it ever since. See here for the local advocacy campaign I creative-directed, photographed, interviewed (with the generous participation of the folks featured), and project-managed pro bono in 2013 (some of which was then used in a statewide campaign during Georgia Rides to the Capitol).You can read about this (and much more) in my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike. All proceeds help more girls and women ride bikes.
If interested, I shot the video below for the statewide bike advocacy group, Georgia Bikes (as requested for a driver safety course on which they are working with City of Dunwoody City Councilor Joe Seconder, which is expected to be used throughout the state) while sitting on a wall in front of an elementary school less than five minutes before the assault on my life.
Due to COVID-19, my adult daughters are currently home temporarily, as is my husband. All three were waiting for me to arrive home safely that day. This little video below would have been the very last thing my family would have found on my phone, and it would have been my final words to you:

We’re all just trying to get home safely. Thank you.

I believe the footage of my survival and this video will be included in that driver course (as well as some photos from my View from the Handlebars collection, which I make available for advocacy efforts nationwide). Perhaps it will do some good.

Updates:
And a question about the newest ghost bike in my neighboring city ( Sandy Springs, Georgia):

 

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