Wednesday, 21 March 2012

(Yet) Another Close Call....

Today we were a fraction of a centimetre away from a nasty road collision.

It involved two speeding motorcycles; who were on the wrong side of a very narrow road coming round a blind bend.   They were obviously racing each other.  To make matters worse I was also at speed as I was just at the bottom of a decent.  The first "Biker" was close - I could have touched his face but he swerved and braked - braking so hard he skidded and nearly came off himself.  The second, despite seeing what happened actually swerved more into my path more.  I had NOWHERE to go.  I could see he was laughing.  I was petrified. I thought I was going to die. (Since the event I have decided he was actually playing "chicken" with me).  His front wheel was practically about to touch mine before he swerved - as he was going so fast and was so close to his friend on such a tight spot he too started to loose control.  Somehow I made it, but now my thoughts turned to Mikey who was just behind me. From the corner of my eye I saw the 2nd Bike veer back in again after he had passed me - towards Mikey!  I was now even more petrified. Would he now hit him? Somehow and thankfully he missed Mikey too - I really dont know how he kept that machine in control at such a speed. I don't know if it was all premeditated - playing chicken with us - or if the swerving was him losing control at such speed.  However I am convinced it was all malicious as they roared off into the distance - accelerating excessively as if they were still trying to intimidate us.

Since our return I have been pondering this event and how every time we go out on our bikes we risk our lives - putting them into the hands of the other (often inconsiderate) road users.  We all know people that have been hurt and some of us tragically know people who have lost their lives in bicycle collisions, yet we still go out and ride. We do everything we can to make ourselves safer; lights clothing and assertive cycling but we all seem to know that its not us that are idiots its those fricking imbeciles and their motor vehicles.

We shrug off that idiot that overtook us and then swung back into our path, narrowly avoiding hitting us as it happens on such a regular basis. We shrug off that prat who opened their car door without looking as it is such a common occurrence.  We shrug off that half-wit that just pulled out of a side road right in front of us, forcing us to make an emergency stop.  We shrug off that pillock who pushes through the traffic calming even though we are on the side with priority.  It just all seems part and parcel of the bicycle ride. We get home and feel lucky if we only have one near miss with a car on a half hour ride.  Why do we accept it as the norm? We are the vulnerable ones out there. We don't have a lovely soft airbag to protect us.

It just makes me so angry.  I drive a car for most of my working day and manage to make time and space for bicycle riders (and horse riders too of course), why cant other people just give us a little bit of space?

I often ponder what is the answer. It should be simple.  I'd like to think that as more of us cycle, more people will know a cyclist - making them more conscientious and courteous - but even this sadly doesn't seem to be the case.  I have family who believe that cyclists have no right to be on the road.  Mikey has family that drive with half their car in the bike lane.  If we can't change the opinions of those that love us how how the hell do we expect to change the nation.

Sorry, rant over!


Marsha said...

Glad you weren't hurt...

John Berry said...

In the words of Bobby McFerrin 'Don't worry be happy'.

We won't change the world, but rest assured when the oil has run out or its to expensive we will all be cycling :-)

There isn't a lot you can do when a car or mbike plays chicken with you, you will always come of worse, All we can do is ride defensively and considerately, Ohhh and record and report!

If we (I) didn't ride my bike I would be grumpy and fat(ter), I may have to give up cider and cake! and that just would not do!

SS:Mntbiker\Olskoolrodder said...

I'm SO glad you and Mikey weren't hurt,my friend! IDK why the hell people think they are so special that they have th eright to muck wth others,or who they are that they believe themselves so special that they deserve all the space as they try to "make up time" when they knew they should have left sooner in the first're speaking to the quire,my friend.

It's all we can do to be as safe as we possibly can,and turn in to the authorties those who are dangerous. I had a lady officer who ansered my call once recentlyask "I'm not sure what you want us to do,sir...." after having given her pace,time,exactly what had happened,very detailed description (I'm good like that) and license # of the offender,my reply was "Um...your job,to enforce the law".

Some people really are clueless,yet when something bad happens they scream "It wasn' MY fault!" (rolling eyes here).

I'm sorry...hated subject for me this is. I'm just glad the two of you are fine :)

Alex said...

I have a similar problem. I do a multi-modal commute, so I drive partway and then I ride a folding bike that I keep in my trunk once I hit the city. I have a lot of close calls every day, even though I'm only riding about 5 miles each way. When I'm driving, I am very aware. I don't really know what the long term solution is...more PSAs?