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Cyclist Beware, The Idiots Are Out Now…

April 2013
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Could it be?!  Yesterday marked my third ride in a row!!! Woohoo! And the forecast shows today will be number four!

For those new to my writing style, that’s what mild sarcasm looks like in Bgddy Land. All kidding aside the weather has finally been quite nice. My legs are starting to catch up to where my melon thinks they should be and I’ve had an absolute peach of a time out on the road – finally.

Yesterday’s ride was a stark reminder of the vigilance required when riding, even on the back roads. We’re talking about something more than just defensive riding too, defensive is good but I take that a step further – I assume every driver I encounter on the road will do something stupid.  That saved my life twice yesterday.

After putting a couple of warm-up miles in with my daughter I got to rolling.  It was rather windy out and I’d ridden pretty well the last two days so I really wasn’t concerned with speed at all.  Still, I had a pretty nice clip going into a cross-headwind, about 19.5 mph.  Now, to get that fast into the wind with minimal effort I had to stretch out and get pretty low which limited the distance down the road I could comfortably see…  In these cases what I do is raise my shoulders (so I don’t have to crane my neck) every few seconds to check my surroundings up to a half-mile or more out…and that’s when I saw a car to my right starting to back out of the driveway about 100 yards up.  I assumed that the driver wouldn’t see me and kept my eye on him without breaking stride.  Sure enough, when he got to the end of his driveway he didn’t even stop, just rolled right out onto the road.  I hit the brakes and stopped about 10 feet from the bumper.  When he finished backing out into the southbound lane and looked up to go he saw me and his jaw dropped.  I made the international 1″ sign with my thumb and pointing finger and said quietly, “you missed me by that much”…  By the look on his face, he got the message.

Just three miles later, still heading north but this time at 21.5 mph (still low, stretched out and into the wind) I passed an up-scale trailer park on my left with a line of three cars waiting to turn left onto the road.  On these occasions I always check behind me to see if I’ve got a car coming up behind me that I can use to block – no such luck this time so I kept my head up and watched and broke stride…  Sure enough, an old lady pulled out dead in front of me and even pulled a little wide taking up the six inch shoulder over the right line.  Had I not slowed, had I assumed that this old lady knew that I had the right-of-way in this situation, her front fender would have clipped my right in the crank – I only had maybe five feet to her back bumper, this one was close.

If memory serves, the last two springs were like this as well – as everyone shakes off the Michigan winter doldrums, cyclists and drivers hit the road en masse.  After having the roads to themselves for the whole winter I get the feeling that it takes motorists a few weeks to remember that we’re out there too…  So happy riding my fellows, but please keep your head on a swivel so we can write about these incidents rather than have them appear in the obits.


9 Comments

  1. So many people do not have any situational awareness. I believe that riding a bike and being hyper vigilant of others only makes us better drivers.

  2. Sarah C says:

    Yikes! I sometimes wonder if people don’t look, or they just don’t care (or assume that you’re going to stop for them). Stay safe!

  3. elisariva says:

    “Upscale trailer park”. Really?

    Be careful out there!!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Really, we have nice one’s and run-down one’s up here… Sadly the nice parks cost just as much as a regular home when you consider lot rent – but they are nicer than you’d expect… Community pools and everything.

  4. isaac976 says:

    You know what you could do, buy those air horn that is refilled with air, those should deter those lousy drivers.

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