Friday, September 16, 2005

Too Close for Comfort

I almost got hit by a car last night.

Almost everyday I encounter a situation that could have caused a collision if I weren’t paying attention and riding defensively. Most of these aren’t all that close and rarely bring my heart into my throat.

Last night was very close, though.

I was riding West from downtown on Lake street, under the Green Line El tracks. This street was pretty empty and only one or two cars approached from behind during the two miles that I rode on this street. It was dark, so I had my front and back lights on. I was moving pretty fast on the Julep towards a green light. There were a row of three or four cars in the oncoming lane approaching the intersection and none of them were signaling a left turn, so I continued to watch them, but didn’t slow down my pedaling.

When I was in the intersection one of the cars swung into my path. I slowed down my rear wheel with my feet and my front brake squealed with effort. I directed my bike to the right to avoid being hit and ended up riding almost parallel to the car that was stopping. When the car was completely stopped, I wiggled around in front of it to make eye contact with the driver. His window was open and I saw two teenage boys laughing. Laughing. They just almost caused an accident and they were laughing about it. I bet they would have been crying for mommy and daddy had they actually spilled my blood all over the street.

For the next several blocks I was trembling with nervousness/outrage/fear and whatever emotions boil after you’ve just barely avoided a serious crash. Usually my close encounters don’t occur when I am riding fast. Even as I was furiously slowing the Julep, I was also imagining just how horrible it would be when the car hit me. Certainly it would have launched me into the air and over the car.

Ugh. Ride safe everyone.

4 Comments:

At 7:40 AM, Blogger George said...

I know *exactly* how you feel.

I used to ride through our narrow city streets to work everyday and I can't even remember the amount of times I almost got creamed.

I always make eye contact and scream a few profanity laced insults directed to the driver after being cut off........it doesn't do any good but it always make s me feel better.

 
At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Jeremy said...

I hear that sister. Every time i pedal through an intersection i'm looking for cars turning left. even if they are signaling, you don't know what they are thinking and could turn at any moment. stay safe.

 
At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does the phrase "U-Lock Justice" ring a bell?

 
At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Justice"? Seriously?

 

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