Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bikeboy survives again

Wondering if my hair is whiter now, than yesterday. (Probably.)

I was riding east on Bannock Street this morning, almost to my destination. Wearing my bright-yellow jacket, light-colored pants, with 10-watt headlight aglow. (It was almost sunrise, so it's not like darkness was really an issue.)

12th is a one-way, southbound street crossing Bannock. The folks on 12th have a stop sign.

A lady in her SUV pulled up to the stop sign. I was keeping a wary eye on her, because she was "creeping," like she couldn't decide whether or not to run me over.

Lo and behold, suddenly another vehicle zoomed right through the intersection, in the other (right) lane of 12th street!

It was a happy-looking fat lady with her double-latte mocha vanilla espresso or whatever in one hand. She didn't even apply the brakes at the stop sign, far as I can tell.

I braked hard and hollered. I think it was "IDIOT!" (A very astute observation, considering the circumstances.)

She was driving a medium-blue Pontiac Aztek. BE ON THE LOOKOUT!

[A side-note: It's not fair to stereotype drivers based on the vehicle they are driving, because there are occasional variations to the pattern. But I think we can all agree - anybody who would buy and drive a Pontiac Aztek is obviously mentally defective in some way! I mean - that is the butt-ugliest vehicle since the AMC Pacer! I watch out for Aztek drivers!]

Fortunately, I've learned from years of experience that one of the secrets to bike survival is - be ready to compensate for the incompetence of other roadway users. (Others choose to get the biggest vehicle they can, so when they crash, they survive even if the other guy doesn't. To me, that seems to circumvent "the law of natural selection," since the stupidest and/or weakest frequently walk away and end up reproducing.)

I don't like to think of the possible outcome, if I'd been another 15 feet farther on my journey. Or if I'd had an icy patch right there. If I get taken out by a bad driver, I kinda hope it's a Porsche, or maybe a sweet 350Z or Audi. Pontiac Aztek? Fuggeddaboudit!

Strangely, the lady in the SUV proceeded on through, and just about hit me, too. I guess she figured the fatty in the Aztek had already taken me out, so why wait? I hollered at her, too, and gave her the skunk-eye through my clear-vue goggles. (It was 9 degrees this morning!) In both cases, I held "the finger" in check, even though my gloves have all five fingers (rather than mittens).

The dude abides.

(Sorry for the rather angry tone... Fat Aztek Lady brought it on.)

[Note... this is my 200th post to Bike Nazi. Woo-hoo!]


Anonymous said...

Congrats dodging the speeding bullet. Anticipation and being aware of your surroundings will get you through your day and home safe. If more people had an Awareness all the time, we would see less of all things bad. Unfortunately awareness is something you cannot teach.

Anonymous said...

Glad you made it! And I could not agree more on the Aztek -- YUCK YUCK YUCK.

I hate "the creep," as you very cleverly put it. Being attentive to wheels turning is second-nature to an experienced biker, and when the wheels are EVER SO SLOWLY turning, it's nerve-racking. I try to make my looking at a "creeper" very obvious, hoping they will see I'm watching, and either stop or signal that they see me. That works maybe 10% of the time. The other times, I rely on sheer skill and quick reaction time, which happily saved your ass today.

Bikeboy said...

Clancy - indeed, awareness is key. (And there are more distractions to rob people of awareness all the time. SCARY that they felt they had to pass a law outlawing text-messaging-while-driving in Washington. Even scarier that it's still perfectly legal in Idaho and 48 other states.)

Danielo - I can't take cred for the the "creeping" descriptor - although it's perfect! A commenter "dvicci" responded to this post a couple weeks back used it. (I thought of you as I composed this essay; after all, you said your main regret about mittens-rather-than-gloves is, you can't give "the finger" to deserving motorists!)

Marrock said...

I'm pretty sure the Aztek was designed with running down peds and cyclists in mind.

I mean, look at the front of that thing, would it make any uglier to bounce a few people off the grill?

Anonymous said...

Since you are already angry, try this article on for size.

A driver who killed a cyclist is trying to sue for damages to his car.