In which I am almost run down by a Camry

Ah. After a ten year hiatus from cycling, there are things you forget. Not how to ride a bike, but some of the wonderful adventures you can have on one. Indeed, my favorite impromptu adventure is the Near Miss. Today's Near Miss comes courtesy of one shiny blue 2007 Toyota Camry.

Let's see. The innocent protagonist is riding his beloved Peugeot mountain bike (also blue, coincidentally) to the local corner store to procure some liquid refreshment.

Since there are no cars stopped at the light right before the store, he hops his bike onto the sidewalk and presses the button for the crosswalk, rather than pointlessly standing in the bike lane as the traffic light ignores him. The light changes. The little white man beckons. As he crosses the street he notices a car approaching from his right. He notices that it's closing quickly. Very quickly. Our protagonist mashes the pedals as he realizes that the driver is planning on making a rolling right turn, and has enough time to utter a very loud, very startled expletive as he clears the front bumper of the car moments before it comes to a halt several feet past the end of the crosswalk. He catches a glimpse of the driver's startled face as her head swings around, her gaze having been transfixed on the oncoming lane of traffic to her left...

She just didn't see me.

She didn't see me, because she wasn't looking. I'm sorry, when you approach an intersection with a red light, your primary focus should be on actually stopping for the light. Once you've obeyed the letter of the law by stopping for an instant, you may do as you please. However, may I ask that you stop before you've driven through the crosswalk?

As she drove away I noticed on the back of the Camry - what else? - a bike rack.


Alex said...

frilla mane.

I have at least one Near Miss per day, on my ride to work... I have to run a few tard gauntlets, and get hyper-aware during those stretches, but it's still a daily occurance. Most I can see coming a mile away; sometimes the "are they really gonna do THAT"-type commentary in my head becomes audible to others.

Like I've said before, my whole bike riding style is predicated on the assumption that nobody's going to run me over on purpose... Looking around our society, especially on the roads, I don't know what I'm thinking. SRSLY.

F a Camry, by the way.

alex said...

saw what looks to be one of those thermoplastic green painted bike boxes going in on my ride yesterday... news at 11.

deprogram said...

Imagine actually getting run over by a Camry. What an awfully unexciting way to die.

Yeah, you can definitely see these people coming. My astonishment was so great as she blew through the crosswalk that all I managed was a 'Jesus Christ!' that was loud enough to snap her head around... her windows were up, too.

I'm finding myself riding on the sidewalk a lot more, when I'm not on the trail or bike path. Luckily that's only about 10% of my riding time.

I just don't trust people to operate a motor vehicle safely any more.