I ride local rides after work of about 7 miles. I have ridden this same route at least three times a week for 18 months now and its ideal for a post-work, 30 minute work-out. As the neighborhood is very dark in winter (but low traffic) I recently bought a MagicShine 1000 lumen light that augments a side "flasher" I have on the forks and my rear flasher. I literally look like a UFO going down the road and I am as visible as possible - or so I thought.
I was cranking along at 15 mph and noticed a resident driving down her wooded driveway towards the road and heading to intersect with me. The MagicShine was so bright that I could actually see her and her passenger illuminated in their seats in the car. As we come closer and closer my confidence in her stopping starts to wane and I start shouting "Wow Wow Wow" - she doesnt react. At this point Ive hit the breaks and she actually sped up towards me . We meet at the road and I find myself directly in front of her and by this time Im screaming "STOOOPPPP - STOOOPPP". Then I hear a scream of "Oh my god!" as she suddenly sees me and she hits the brakes and turns away from me - literally inches from my legs. I have no idea how she missed me. This all happened in less than a few seconds. Sadly, she took off and raced away without stopping. As luck would have it, she had to stop at an intersection to the main road and so I hammered the bike in hot pursuit. I caught up to her!
As I arrived at the rear of the car I pounded the trunk with my fist and pulled up to the passenger window. She rolls the window down and with a panic-filled voice she says "Oh my god, my god are you Ok? I just didnt see you Im sorry - Im so sorry" I start yelling at her to slow down and open her eyes and then I notice her passenger is a young girl (about 12 yrs) and that kind of took the wind out of my rant. I basically told her to PLEASE be aware for cyclist as she almost killed me. She apologized again and drove away.
So the motto of the story? NEVER assume todays drivers can see you. My lighting was so bright it illuminated INSIDE her car yet she still did not see me! It boogles the mind.
Anyways, I rolled into home and my wife insists that I stick to the indoor trainer from now on. She makes sense, but the neighborhood is so pretty this time of year. Tomorrow it will seem even more so - I feel very lucky!