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College Campus Close Calls

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College Campus Close Calls

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Old 01-22-07, 02:15 PM
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uofiblue
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College Campus Close Calls

Man, rough day out riding today. A little preface, I'm a college student who lives just off campus and it's only about a mile from my apartment to class so it hardly qualifies as a commute, but nonetheless, college campuses are full of stupid, ignorant and careless drivers and pedestrians. I'm aware of this so I'm always more alert when I'm on campus but still sometimes things can get hairy. All of the following happened on my way home from class:

1) I come to a stop at a four way stop. Car coming up from the right on the cross street. I wait, make eye contact with the driver as he slows down, and start to take off. As I get about one revolution in on the pedals, I hear a squeal and instinctly hit the breaks (usually around the campus a squeal of tires doesn't indicate stopping, it indicates someone gunning it). The car from my right, after slowing making eye contact with me, decided that the stop sign didn't apply to him and gunned it. My front tire was less than a foot from his drivers side door as he went by in front of me.

2) Sufficiently rattled, I continue on. Coming up on the left side of the road is a stopped FedEx truck stopped in the other lane. I can see a car coming from behind the truck, but I stupidly assume the car will stop and wait. He instead pulls out into my lane and then honks at me as he slams on the breaks and I hit a patch of ice as I break and go down. Luckily, he stopped about 5 feet short of making my bike and I a permanent fixture on the pavement.

3) Riding along on a different street back near my apartment, a pedestrian runs out from between two cars on the opposite side of the street, forcing a car to swerve to miss her. I'm lucky that I had seen the pedestrian running down the sidewalk from the building and the oncoming car and I had moved to the curb and stopped, because had I not noticed that, I would have become a hood ornament.

I've been biking everywhere for about 6 months now and these are by far the closest calls I've had, but they definately had me rattled today. Hope your commutes all went better!
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Old 01-22-07, 02:42 PM
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Welcome to your first of hopefully few Very Bad Days. Everybody gets one now and then...
Forget to plug in the battery so you have to take the backup light. Slow leaker finally flats out about 1/2 way to work and you have to patch up in the rain. Get to work and realize you forgot your razor after not shaving all weekend. And you left your dress socks on the counter, next to your razor. And your lunch. Get stuck at work late and then hit rush hour gridlock on the way home, nearly get doored a few times, nearly take out a few peds and unleashed pets that dart into the street, finally get home and your housekeys are on your desk at work...

The good days outnumber the bad, usually. And the bad days make for good stories after a while.
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Old 01-22-07, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by uofiblue
I wait, make eye contact with the driver as he slows down, and start to take off.
I've learned all too well that eye contact means nothing. I wonder if they could even remember looking at you if you asked them about it. It's interesting how distracted people can be when they're driving. I'm guilty of it myself.

Glad you're alright. Sometimes you just have a day where every car wants to get up close and personal.
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Old 01-22-07, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
Get to work and realize you forgot your razor after not shaving all weekend. And you left your dress socks on the counter, next to your razor.
^^ I did both of those just this morning. I'm starting to think maybe I look kinda slick with the 5 o'clock shadow. My boss may have a different opinion.

Plus, it's kind of fun knowing that I've got cycling socks on and nobody else knows it. I may have to forget my socks more often.
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Old 01-22-07, 03:35 PM
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College areas can be such a pain. When I think of how I rode in college... Nothing too intentionally stupid, just ignorant, sidewalks and so on...

Two things that may might help in the defensive department, although obviously were you technically in the right. Never take your eyes off the nearby traffic as you go through an intersection, and if you are uncertain, hold out your hand palm out, in a kind a kind of "stop" motion. Of course, also make sure you're as visible as possible, hi-viz and/or reflective clothing, lights if dark. There's no such thing as too noticeable.

Glad you're okay, and here's to a better day tomorrow!
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Old 01-22-07, 03:57 PM
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I would have hit them all.
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