Tuesday, September 13, 2011

With friends like these...

I was riding up the street this afternoon when a gal in a white convertible pulled out from a stop sign, into my path. It happens frequently enough that I always try to anticipate, and as I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her, I also yelled out the customary "HEY!!!" - my horn substitute.

She slammed on her brakes - right in my path (as is frequently the case) - and I was able to change directions and pull around the front of her car.

Then she said something that kinda caught me off guard: "I didn't see you. I'm a bicyclist too!"

What? Am I somehow spoze to feel better about almost getting slammed into, if the person doing the slamming rides a bike from time to time?

Actually it distresses me if a fellow cyclist is so careless when driving. I was right where I should be on the roadway. I was wearing my hi-viz reflective vest. What else can I do?

Hopefully she rides more responsibly than she drives... or she wouldn't last long. (But on the other hand, if she bicycles irresponsibly, it's still highly unlikely she'll kill anybody. And careless motorists kill innocents all the time.)

(NOTE: When I post a comment like this, it's with mixed emotions. This is not in keeping with my mission of being an advocate for bicycling. But it is the reality of being a cyclist. Riding defensively and expecting the unexpected is a matter of survival. And every time I avoid an accident, I demonstrate that survival isn't so far-fetched.)

1 comment:

Bob T said...

One would think that correct road positioning and high visibility clothing should be enough to prevent such incidents. Unfortunately they are not, as your several experiences demonstrate.

I haven't had any close calls since I began using strobe lights during the daytime. It seems almost like magic, but there may be a good reason behind it. From the time they start driving motorists are taught to be alert for flashing lights. Cyclists who use strobe lights during the daytime are just taking advantage of this instinctive motorist reaction in order to draw attention to themselves. It works!