Monday, April 26, 2010

Something Different About the Night

I have ridden home without incident hundreds of times. Simply get on the bike and go. There are times that when I head off, I sometimes feel as if I need to be extra cautious.
It has saved my life. The feeling that something will go wrong on my commute has come to me more then once and being prepared, has me watching for everything.
One such evening I was heading from Allston to Lexington to spend the night. I made it through Harvard Square and Arlington Center without any problem. After Arlington Height's, I noticed a car coming from the on coming left lane take a curve and head right for me.
I said to myself, "This is it." It was exactly what I was looking for. I feathered my breaks and with my front wheel no more then a foot from the side of the car in total control, had them pass in front of me and to my right. The car then went up onto the curb and smash into the bushes in front of a home.
I went to the drivers window and asked if they were OK. One look at the driver made me realize that he was in fact trying to hit me. In no shape to be driving and what appeared to be a stolen car, he looked at me as if to say, "Who do you think your talking to?" His cigarette was drooping from his lips and again I asked if he was OK? He shook head no, put the car in reverse and without looking screeched the tires back out into the street to get another chance, I think, at hitting me.
Cars stopped all around avoiding the driver and his car full of friends. They were all very high. It was clear.
I disappeared behind the bushes and watched. The driver took off closely in back of a driver that had honked his horn at him for backing out in front of him. The rest of the group were throwing rocks out their windows at the car. Not Good.
I spent the rest of the nights ride looking over my shoulder.
I never saw the group again. It made me think that somehow I saw this coming before the first pedal stroke of the evenings commute.
Once in a lifetime one would hope, But its times like this that has me thinking that its always best to ride with your head up.


  1. PS: The number one cause of death to cyclists by an automobile is from cars coming from across the street and taking a corner in fron of the rider. You might think differntly and only ride with a tail light, but a light show, both front and back is always best. Drivers. Motocyclists and bicycle riders alike, only look for cars.

  2. Another good story... an 'amen' on the front-facing lights and a confirmation on the 'left-turn-t-bone' issue.

    There's an intersection that I pass thru every day on the ride home from work. It's at the bottom of a downhill, so I'm usually cooking at about 30mph into it. I always make sure I'm *way* out in the middle of the lane when I go thru, since 1) it keeps jerks from pulling passing me on my left and turning *right* in front of me (they've done it before) and 2) it gives me more space to manuever when the oncoming traffic decides they want to go ignore right-of-way and turn left in front of me...

    Basically, I assume that cars are oblivious to me, so I try to make myself *reallly* obvious. (It's especially important when you're commuting, since about 20% of the drivers are on the phone or preoccupied with getting home from work.

    I actually feel *safer* riding in the dark than during evening hours, since I'm well-lit in the dark -- and cars are easier to track with their lights on. (Downside is potholes/hazards are tougher to spot... ;-( )


    p.s. Sorry I missed you this Saturday, Scott. Should have called sooner.


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