I have a 50 minute commute into work in the morning. Four miles on a surface street, 40 miles on expressways, then four more on surface streets to the office. It’s a little longer than I’d like, but I love where I live so I put up with losing two hours a day in commute time.
This morning I headed out like any other winter morning. It was 8 degrees out (-13 C) and we’d gotten a decent amount of snow the day before. The roads were almost cleared but not quite. I was on the road at 5:15 am.
My commute was boring as usual until that last four miles. I exited the expressway and took a longcut that avoids a train crossing because once Daylight Saving Time goes away, there’s a slow train that blocks my normal way in on Tuesdays and Thursdays… and Wednesdays and sometimes Fridays. It’s better to add a half-mile and use a road that has a natural bridge over the tracks.
Along that road I see a cyclist on the bike path every morning. This morning, however, he was riding his bike with a single solid headlight on the wrong side of the road – he was riding directly at me in my lane and because of the snow and slush on the road, he was well too far into the oncoming traffic lane. The headlight confused me and the perspective was all off… I couldn’t tell how fast he was approaching because he was heading right for my passenger side headlamp. There was no perspective.
I only caught that it was person on a bicycle heading toward me in my lane a few seconds before it would have been too late. I eased over into the oncoming lane to miss the idiot and all ended well, but if there’d been a car coming the other way preventing me from swerving out of the way, he’d have been a hood ornament – or he’d have shat his pants when I slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop and he’d have run into me. Either way, he loses.
Folks, I put eight to ten thousand miles a year on one of my several bicycles and I look out for us more than your average motorist by an order of magnitude… and I still damn near ended one of my brothers in wheels’ life because he was a nincompoop.
DON’T F***ING RIDE YOUR BIKE IN THE INCOMING LANE OF TRAFFIC. It is the opposite of “safer”.
Here endeth the public safety announcement.