05 September 2006

a near miss

the following is an emailed rampage i unleashed on two of my hapless friends, Corey and Nicole, after a near miss between my beloved Sparky and a car in northwest portland. a few edits have been made to protect innocent eyes. it is a testament to Nicole and Corey's copacetic nature that they are still speaking to me at all. i am also ashamed to say that i posted something FAR more benign on bikeportland.org after some guilt and shame caught up with me.
here we go:

okay, i must vent.
i was on my way to REI (they have a clearance sale, and i needed a floor pump), and there was a road closure in front a few blocks. a subaru came up and drove past me on my left (i was in a bike lane) and then turned right in front of me and then stopped directly in the bike lane. i mean dead stop for absolutely no reason. i skidded to a stop just before flying into her rear window.
i was so angry i slammed my hand on her rear window before riding around her (she was STILL parked in the bike lane, by the way). she rolled her window down and told me "that's what blinkers are for. you should be more careful". i replied that it's hard to see the blinker when the person's coming from behind and cutting you off in your lane, and she snottily made a few comments and then said, and here's the clincher:
"you give bikers a bad name". i was speechless, mesmerized by her audacity and her unbridled assurance that her driving was completely flawless (when in fact had she done the same with a car she would have a great deal to answer for). that speechlessness, of course, lasted about a nanosecond. needless to say, i pointedly invited her to get out of her car, but she was already starting to drive off.

i hate drivers sometimes. not all, not most, actually. just brunette former cheerleaders who think that the tonnage around them gives them license to drive whatever way they choose regardless of traffic law (and had she stuck around i . . . well, first i would have rearranged her pert little nose . . . but THEN i would have graciously offered her my copy of "pedal power" with all traffic regulations regarding bicycles therein for her perusal and, one hopes, her ultimate enlightenment).
but i got to REI. and i got my pump at 25% off. it's orange. and makes me happy. or will make me happy after i'm done with murderous rage.
give bicyclists a bad name. the impertinence!


okay, so there was the rage-stricken biker that you see on the news (i can still work up into a lather when i think about it for too long). just would like to follow up with a tale of coming together through adversity that happened the following monday morning. Sparky and i were waltzing around ladd's circle on our way to work when a silver economy car turned in front of me. i veered as much as i could without hitting the parked cars and ended up getting hooked by her passenger-side rear-view mirror and taken along the front of her hood for a few yards (still riding my bike). she stopped, i landed on the pavement, then got up to check on Sparky and my paddle, expecting another lambast from another haughty motorist, to be honest. instead i heard a bashful, "i'm so sorry. i didn't see you there." the driver was out of her car and shaking a little with her hands out to me. she asked if i was alright, and we ended up hugging each other a lot and asking if the other was okay. we talked a bit about how it's difficult to see bikes, that the laws are always changing and so it's difficult to know where to look or what to do, that we'll both be more careful next time. she didn't even LOOK at her car for damage until she was about ready to get back in. i don't know who that woman was, but i hope good luck is strewn before her like rose petals for the rest of her life! it was such a reversal from the near-hit the week before that i was able to appreciate her candor and generosity of spirit even more.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Next time, after explaining that bikers have the right of way in the bike lane, step off your bike, and put your foot as far up the driver's ass as possible. I have found this to be a good way to communicate the danger and unpleasantness that we face on the streets. nice blog!