Advocacy & Safety - Close calls
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I was reading Danny V's post on bike flags and there was mention of staying alive. It really got me thinking about how many close calls I've had with bad drivers and, admittedly, my errors on the road and I ask myself how is it that I'm still alive. There's just been so many near misses over the years that should have at least bruised me a bit.
I was riding with my usual riding partner a while back and I saw him dodge a car door by what looked like inches. The vehicle door was on the left side of us where it's completely unexpected. We were sitting down later on over a beer and trying to figure out what exactly caused him to reflex that quickly. I feel like I have dozens of other near misses like that. I still can't really figure it out.
I'm not much of a church goer but maybe I should be. Anyone else out there have so many close calls that they are left in total wonder as to why they're still alive right now?
03-09-01, 10:16 PM
I guess if I think about my whole life (I know this is not what you asked), yes, I've had some real brushes with Death. And I'm still here.
03-09-01, 10:49 PM
One that really sticks out in my mind is a close call in the mall parking lot...
I was riding my bike to work, when i came upon an auto accident, the police has taped off the street so nobody could get around, so i decided to ride behind somebodies house to the mall parking lot, and then across the parking lot to another main road... all in all, it would save me about 5min of time.
I made it about 1/2 of the way across the parking lot when two highschool kids going to school cut thru the parking lot well over 50mph! I slammed on my brakes as fast as i could, only to miss this car by less then six inches. There would have been no way i could have survived that if the car hit me, and the driver of the car had no control what so ever. I honestly dont think the driver ever even saw me riding my bike... im not sure how he could not, as my bike is bright yellow and red, and i wear a yellow illuminate wind breaker when riding.
Another close call was when i was cruising around 20mph on a 25mph road... some guy in a car decided he couldn't wait 3 sec to let me pass his right hand turn, so he sped up and passed me, then turned only 10' in front of me... i slammed on my breaks but still bumped into him, i gave his car a hard kick with my clip in shoes, he looked at me and gave me the bird, but i think i left a nice $200+ scrape from my shoes in his door... I have had more of these type of close calls then anything else, im not sure if the driver just needs to get somewhere, or if they dont realize how fast im really going, but i get somebody turning infront of me at least once a month.
03-09-01, 10:57 PM
Yup. No joke, driving the car makes us crazy, man (but THAT guy was a bozo).
03-10-01, 12:02 AM
It's amazing how much of a perspective you get when you're not in the driver's seat of a car. When I started running, I realized that I needed to become more aware of my environment around me. That meant not having a Walkman on me, make sure I'm listening to cars in front or behind me, and watch out for cyclists, walkers, and other runners. When I do get behind the wheel, I am very careful to look to the right of me, before I turn the corner. I guess it's mainly courtesy that everyone has to remember.
As a cyclist, I am very conscious of other riders out there, and give them more room to next to me. I would want safety and comfort for myself and other riders out there.
I've had some close calls as well...keep safe everyone!
03-10-01, 03:45 PM
I have close calls quite often, mainly due to the fact that any incompetent tosser can get a licence in this country. With that in mind, I generally try to expect the worst from motorists so that I can be prepared for when it happens.
03-11-01, 10:01 AM
this one is a real close call, This happen back in the old country, about 15 years ago, I was training in the "rotunda " and it was a Sunday the traffic was to be close that Sunday and I was really on the clock, when all of a sudden the Hunchback car entered the Roundabout and stop in front of me and I was looking down on my wheels, when I look up, this cars was already very near me , No time to stop, ended up inside the car, smashing his rear windshield and broke my bike, good thing I was wearing a helmet -crack my helmet at the time, was knock out and lost consciousness
03-11-01, 03:10 PM
Glad you're alright! Sounds like a bad one...
I had a close call on the bike. It was all my fault.
I was new at riding. I was feeling a little too good about how I was passing a line of standing cars. I was in the bike lane, but I was looking downward because
there was so much debris. I looked up, and there was a car blocking the bike lane, turned halfway into a driveway, waiting to enter a parking lot (this is why the line of cars wasn't moving, but I wasn't paying enough attention to notice).
I knew I was going too fast to stop, but I slammed on my brakes and tried to make a quick turn right into the parking lot. My front wheel made it into the driveway and my rear wheel slid sideways. I ended up parallel to the blocked car, pointing into the parking lot. My left side (leg, butt, whatever) lightly bumped into the car.
I was fine. I walked my bike around to the driver's side of the car to talk to the driver, who said they didn't even notice I had bumped into them. The driver got out and checked the car for scratches and dents, but never asked how I was!
As I started to leave, I looked across the street at some
construction workers who had seen the whole thing. They were laughing at me. I waved and smiled, but somehow I didn't feel like laughing. I felt stupid.
But I was glad I learned some things, like how to make a quick turn (sort of), to look ahead, to stay out of debris and be careful about passing on the right, even in a bike lane.
Maybe this story will serve as a caution about my other story ("Back in the saddle"), in which I talked about how great it felt to pass a long line of cars. Passing on the right is frowned upon by many cyclists, because cars don't expect you to be there and can hit you in many ways, including letting out a passenger. Always exercise caution if you must pass on the right. Also, learn to pull in directly behind a line of cars at an intersection and proceed only when the line begins to move. Then you can pull right again and let them pass, or follow them through the intersection before pulling right.
03-11-01, 11:47 PM
Two of my many close calls were with other cyclists. The first, which occurred soon after I started cycling at the age of 67, was with a cyclist coming toward me on the wrong side (his left) of the street. I didn't know what to do, but I thought that he would move to his right to pass me, as we customarily do in this country. I never dreamed that he might be playing chicken with me, but he was. I was barely able to miss him. He rode on by, laughing maniacally. Since then I move out into the car lane when I meet a wrong way cyclist. It's safer out there.
The other time was with a cyclist coming from my left on the sidewalk. I had not looked left, because I was crossing a street with traffic coming only from my right. It was very close, and I don't think he ever saw me. Since then I look both ways at all intersections of all kinds. I won't bore you with any more such stories. Suffice it to say that many of my close calls were mostly my fault.
That's interesting, I've never encountered a cyclist ever trying to play chicken with me. I did merge through through 4 lanes of 80 kmh traffic the other day to get to an Ikea though. I thought certainly I was going to die there. I find it odd in theis city (edmonton) that motorists honk and b***ch at the strangest times. I mean when I cut through traffic on a huge through-fare nobody honked at all but when I'm just riding normally and not doing anything nuts, Joe Roadrage creeps up and starts screaming. These motoring creatures are strange. I blasted one with my air horn though. That was fun. For some reason he bolted ahead of me and made a quick left turn though a red almost as though he didn't want to meet me at the light. I try not to take it for granted here in Canada that it's still safe to laff at a motorist whose lost his temper without getting shot at.
03-14-01, 07:30 PM
I think the closest call I've had, other than the usual swerving around open doors, and having cars whiz by my elbow, was when a passenger tossed a full can of Coke at me as the car was driving by. It went by my head close enough that I could feel the spray off of it. I couldn't catch up to the car, which was probably a good thing, but someone who saw it from another car stopped and told me they got the license number and took it to the police. I never heard any more about it though.
03-14-01, 07:51 PM
I had the same experience with a beer bottle. Good thing they missed. Only thing I can think is that anyone who would do that will face some real payback in life.
Still, if that bottle hit me...
Sometimes, people astound me, Aerobat! I sympathize with you.
But remember, they did miss...
We must have guardian angels!
03-14-01, 08:13 PM
Man, i had a large 7-11 slurpee (sp?) tosed at me when riding home from work, luckly, it missed me by a few inches, but i still got a bit slurped.
About three blocks down the road, the car that tossed the slurpee at me got stoped at a red light, all i could do when i passed him was give a good squirt of water in his face... he gave me the bird, and i ran the red light! :fight:
Joe, too bad you didn't have a piece of cloth or something to stuff in his tail pipe for that.
From time to time I've dealt with potential road ragers by pulling my Kryptonite lock off my side and carrying it in my hand while riding and then making eye contact with the motorist. Though I don't really recommend it to anyone in the states. It does spark a certain terror in the angry motorist's face here in Edmonton.
03-15-01, 11:43 PM
In more than 16,000 miles of city riding (I stopped counting), I am pleased to report that I have encountered very little hostility. In fact, I have displayed more than I have received (bicycle road rage!). But I've mellowed a lot. I usually no longer get angry at stupid mistakes which endanger me, honks, unfriendly shouts, etc. And nobody has ever thrown anything at me.
A possible reason for this predominant benevolence is that people in my extended community (Silver Spring and Takoma Park, MD) see me repeatedly riding the streets. Strangers often speak to me, and some want to talk about cycling. I've become a fixture in these parts. Knowing that people recognize me puts me on my good behavior, except for traffic laws, which I break with great regularity.
03-27-01, 12:47 AM
As I moved to the right of the shoulder one night, a semi-truck's right front wheel went over the spot I had just been a moment before.
Close calls that will stick forever in this mind:
--Cars exiting a supermarket driveway to enter traffic; one stops suddenly right in front of me, when I'm perhaps four feet away: I dodge between it and the car behind, with less than three feet between their bumpers, and live to remember it. I will never know how I did it: there was no thought involved, no time for plans, thought, reflection, anything. I just did it.
--Crossing railroad tracks in a light mist, I'm suddenly airborne--it feels like I'm three feet in the air, though I'm sure it was less than one foot. Instead of crashing on the tracks, I come down in full control. Chance? I'll never know.
--A car suddenly stops in front of me and I have to panic stop--I come to rest inches from the car; the driver looks sheepish and waves while I wonder if I'm alive. The rear brake cable was pulled completely out of the retainer by the force I applied.
--A car suddenly and with no signal or warning turns into my path to enter the driveway of a funeral home. He misses my tail by a few inches only. I was probably "invisible" to him, as cyclists so often are to motorists.
03-27-01, 10:54 PM
This one could have been a lot worse, and it was my own fault! I had a corner all lined up on one of my usual training routes, and was doing about 30-35 km/hr. There was a stop sign, but I went through it, as it is just for people coming out of a parking lot, and I'd never seen a car come out of it. A truck pulled up and stopped, spoiling my line into the corner and when I changed my setup, the predictable happened, and I went down. There was no damage except for a bruise on my hip that I can still feel, and torn shorts, that were my oldest pair anyway. I assumed the truck had a stop sign, but when I looked back later on he didn't have one, it was only for traffic coming from my direction, and could have just as easily gone through. Lucky for me he saw the idiot cyclist, and even asked if I was OK. Maybe there are guardian Angels. I'm not quite so cavalier about stop signs anymore!
03-28-01, 02:44 PM
I was cut off by another ute driving tosser this morning. The thing was, I didn't even bother to shout abuse at him. Are the testosterone levels slipping? Am I getting old? What's going on?
03-28-01, 03:05 PM
Nah! You're just getting used to it!
04-02-01, 11:34 AM
I posted this close call somewhere else, but I'll add it here.
04-02-01, 08:01 PM
Never under any circumstances assume a driver will actually follow the road rules in a given situation. If I had made that mistake yesterday, I wouldn't be here to post this now.
04-02-01, 08:30 PM
Oh, yes! Personally, I am rooting for you and not the motoring primates, Chris-the-Man L.!
04-15-01, 01:06 PM
I too have worn the proverbial blanket o' soda.
Clipping along at about 25-27 mph, some paragon of road virtues decides to give me his can...his whole, unopened can (found this out when I went back to look) of Mountain Dew.
If I could, I'd like to join the "MADE IT BY THE HAIR ON MY *SS" club. The can got shredded, probably in my spokes, and it turned into a thin, aluminum blade that could have done who know's what to my legs or tires.
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