Friday, January 14

(W)CHC Day #5- Morning Commute

O, Cannonball! O, Cannonball! How lovely are your fenders!

The ride wasn't as slushy as I expected it to be today. But I was still glad for the fenders in a couple of places. And because I switched bikes I blew one goal: I had to store the Cannonball in my cube today, I forgot to put my cable lock in the pannier.

That's the big downfall to storing the bike in my cube every day, I tend to leave heavy locks and cable at home because I don’t need them through the day. The problem arises when I want to stop somewhere on the way in or the way home and I don’t have a lock with me. I've been keeping a lightweight cable and padlock in my pannier, but for some reason I took it out since last week.

Oh well, it worked out well and from now on I know I have a good place to put the bike if it gets super-wet or muddy or covered in road grunge.

Last day of the challenge and I think I did pretty good, definitely not 100%, but better than I expected I'd finish on Monday. Look for a brief (hopefully) write up sometime over the weekend. I'll try not to ramble, as I've done that twice each day and give you a thumbnail of the whole week.

In more disturbing news, I dreamed I was hit by a car last night. In the dream I wasn't hurt, but the car kept going. So I chased it down and when I got near the driver's side window (on foot) I saw the driver was asleep. I yelled "Hey!" and she woke up, completely oblivious to having hit me. I don't typically think about these things or dwell on the possibility of being hit but I think its interesting that I would dream that the driver was asleep.

My view is that I'm probably much more likely to be in a serious car accident while driving that actually being hit by a car on my bike. Today the majority of my ride was completely separated from vehicular traffic, and the portions that I had to share with cars were less busy streets (in far better condition today I might add), even Ridge Road which I braved in an effort to cut down my commute time.

Speaking of close calls…BE VIGILANT! I was sitting on Tabor at 44th waiting for a break in traffic to cross. A delivery truck approached from my right to make a left onto Tabor and he stopped in the turn lane. As the lane cleared to my left the driver of the truck waved me across in front of him, presumably because he couldn't make the turn with me in his way. I waved in thanks to him and jumped on my pedals, gaining speed just as I hit the middle of the turn lane. And I then pulled hard on both brakes.

I didn’t assume he had looked in his mirrors to make sure nothing was coming up from behind him out of my view (the truck was blocking a long stretch of the road to my right). I stopped with my front tire inches from the right side painted line of the turn lane. Two cars rocketed past side by side just as I stopped. The truck had inched forward and was only a couple of feet from me, but he must have seen me and stopped. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to stop and look and thankfully he didn’t assume I was out of his way and gun forward.

If I had assumed he had made sure the lane beyond was clear I'd be dead. So my lesson learned today is this: don't trust drivers. Ever. They don’t take into consideration all the aspects of riding a bike, in fact, a lot of them don’t have a reasonable grasp of traffic and how it only relates to motor vehicles.

I am pretty adamant about making cars go first, unless its clear they just aren’t going to go until I do. I'd rather have them out of my traffic equation when I'm negotiating an intersection and not have to guess if they see me or if they are actually going to wait for me. In the future I'll insist the truck driver go first.

That's the moral of the story: motorists may seem to have your best interests in mind, but maintain control of the situation and only do what is safe for YOU.

2 comments:

  1. I can't stand it when drivers disrupt the traffic pattern to insist I go first even though they have the right of way and I've already put my foot down. They don't understand the time it takes for us to build momentum from a committed stop and that during that time, anything could happen. Then when you refuse to go, they get angry! Drives me crazy!

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  2. I always let them go first. I can just see a crazy impatient driver behind them trying to gun around them as I go ahead, or they decide they really don't want to wait for me after all and go as I get in front of them, or I've misinterpreted a wave to go on for a wave to get rid of a fly.

    And then there is always the genius with the dark tinted windows who just sits there. I imagine them frantically waving me on, but I can't see them, so I just sit and give them the hairy eyeball until they go.

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