Re: inconsiderate drivers!
On Wed, 14 Sep 2005 15:05:32 -0500, gkmac wrote:
> leadpan wrote:
> > *I mostly ride on the sidewalk instead of riding w/ the traffic
> > cause many drivers whizzes by me when I ride along the street,
> > missing me by inches sometimes! *
> That’s why I ride on the sidewalk (or pavement as we like to call
> them the UK) on busy roads, along with the fact that the pavements
> next to busy roads tend to be nice and wide.
I’ve recently stopped riding on the pavement, after an almost nasty
incident. I was riding one way, and there was a jogger coming the
other way. Just as we were about to pass, a car suddenly popped out of
a slightly concealed driveway right next to us both. Fortunately, the
driver managed to stop before hitting us. However, the jogger got very
cross with me, because since I was focussed on avoiding him, I hadn’t
noticed the car until it was almost too late, and had ridden right in
front of it.
He said I was a bit big (meaning too old) to be riding on the
pavement. I was extremely upset by this, because I didn’t think being
on the road would be particularly safe, so the discussion got a bit
heated. However, I did ride the remaining 150m home on the road,
mostly so this bloke wouldn’t chase after me.
I stayed upset for a long time. I could see the jogger’s point that
riding on the pavement wasn’t safe, but I also didn’t feel safe on the
road, where I’m legally obliged to ride. It was looking like I was
going to have to get my bike fixed for my commute to work.
The next couple of days, I continued riding to work on the pavement,
but I was looking at the road, wondering just how dangerous it
actually was. Then came the weekend, so I decided to try road riding
in the quieter traffic. It wasn’t nearly so scary as I had thought it
would be, though there were occasional moments of worry. After that, I
switched to riding on the road wherever possible. I do leave the road
for shortcuts across a pedestrian bridge, and a couple of short bits
of road where I’m riding against the one-way direction. However, in
these cases, I keep a really close eye on where people are walking,
and don’t ride down the bridge steps until pedestrians are well clear.
I now find that not only is road riding almost entirely un-scary (but
see below), it also seems much easier than riding on the pavement. I
used to UPD a few times during the 24 miles I rode each week, but on
the road, I think it’s only happened 3 or 4 times in a few months (and
one of those was because I was trying to show off to people who
shouted “Jump!” at me). There’s a pretty big hill I have to climb on
the way home. On the pavement, I usually stopped once or twice on each
climb and thought it necessary, but on the road, where stopped
vehicles just get in the way, I find that I can ride the entire hill
in one go, even overtaking the occasional bike.
> > *Anyone else with close calls with cars? *
Last weekend, a car came extremely close to hitting me. I was riding
along a big open road, with plenty of visibility. As I was riding past
a side road, I saw a car coming up it, towards the junction with the
road I was on. I had right of way, and I was already half way across
the turning, so I didn’t really pay it much attention. As I was almost
past this car, however, it started to pull out. At first I thought
this was just one of those impatient drivers who like to cut things
fine, starting to pull out before they really should, in preparation
to overtake me. However, I soon notice that this car isn’t overtaking;
it’s heading directly towards me, and accelerating! By the time the
driver sees me and starts braking, the car’s bumper is about three
inches away from my wheel (I can see it without turning round, just by
looking down), and I’m going as fast I can.
Fortunately for both of us, he did slow down just in time, and I
managed to stay in control despite being terrified and riding faster
than I thought possible. The driver then tried to argue that I
shouldn’t be “racing along on that little thing”. I told him that I
can only usually manage about 6-8 mph, which he’d have seen for
himself if he was paying attention. The only reason he thought I was
“racing” was because when he did see me, I was trying to escape being
smashed into a bloody pulp.
Peter Haworth firstname.lastname@example.org
“Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre,
but they are more deadly in the long run.”
– Mark Twain