Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another NDE (Near-Death Experience)

[Actually it wasn't that close a call… but only because I've learned a survival trick over my years of bicycling – PAY ATTENTION!]

Today it was a BSU student, most likely. I was northbound on Lincoln Avenue in the afternoon, about a block from the Student Union. The guy comes out of a parking lot on the opposite side of the street, generally heading straight toward me (but driving as though he didn't see me at all – go figure). I pulled as far to the right as I could, and braked hard, to make room. (I cannot occupy the same space, at the same time, as a little silver econo-pod.)

So, he's driving along just barely in front of me, in the same direction, and at about the same speed.

At the next intersection, he turns right… into my path, once again. No signal or advance warning.

I braked hard, again, and swerved to the left to avoid him. I also hollered. (I don't have a horn, or one of those little dingie greenbelt bells – my voice is my substitute.) A pedestrian a couple blocks up the street heard me and turned around… but the driver of the econo-pod didn't seem to even notice. And then I realized why… he was "iPod-enabled." He had abandoned his ability to hear his surroundings, for the superior experience of listening to his boom-de-boom iTunes with the earplugs.

Is bicycling dangerous? If you're not paying attention – YES. I regularly compensate for the mistakes of apparent-idiots behind the wheel, as well as those who impair themselves with cell phones, headphones, yammering car-mates, etc.

(You may recall – there's no IQ test to get a driver's license, and the knowledge-and-ability tests are such that pretty much everybody can pass 'em. I believe it's still difficult for a blind person to get a driver's license... but sometimes I wonder. So that's the demographic of the people I share the road with… I better be prepared for what they bring.)

2 comments:

danielo said...

Glad you made it. My policy is "ride as though you're invisible, and you'll survive."

Clacny said...

Yes I usually make up for the mistakes of others. Had many NDE's, including looking to see which part of the hood will gentler to land upon.