Tonight I left work at 1130pm as usual and started the trek home. One mile along a highway which is fairly quite at that time of night (at least in the section I ride it). Four miles along a MUP that is fairly well dark and deserted after 10pm when the beaches close. The MUP is usually just me, the police, the park rangers, and the occassional cyclist on the path at that time of night. Then the last mile on a major street before turning off into a quite residential area.
I don't know what it was, but even at work there was an abnormally high amount of "crazy" in the air (I work at a hospital...we know crazy). I took the normal route towards home but had my head on a swivel. I passed all the normal collection of park rangers and police parked in their vehicles but unlike every other night there was not a single cyclist to be found other than myself. I still don't know why, but something had me kind of freaked out and when I got to the last mile on that busy street I did something I NEVER do. I decided to get on the opposite side of the road and ride on the sidewalk. Something in my head was telling me my normal route from here on out was a bad idea.
A few minutes into my sidewalk ride I hear a loud scraping sound, then the popping and bending of metal, and when I look directly across the street (where I would be riding if I followed the law) from where I was riding there is a truck skidding out of control with one tire up on the curb and the back end of the truck making a huge display of sparks as it spins the truck around. The truck came to a stop about 20 feet ahead of where I was after snapping a road sign from its base. I could see the lights of a police car before I could even find my phone so I decided to just keep on heading home.
I don't know if it was a drunk, someone texting, or someone simply losing control of their vehicle after blowing a tire...but I couldn't be happier about trusting my gut and not riding in the street on that stretch of road tonight.
I am sure that some would argue that cyclists are just more aware of their surroundings and possible problem areas because we aren't boxed in and tucked into our seats with a (often false) sense of security. One could also argue that the whole thing was complete a complete chance of time and place. Whatever.....I would prefer to keep regarding events like this as the Cyclist's Sixth Sense because it makes us sound like we have some VooDoo. And cycling VooDoo is a good thing.