Friday, April 3, 2009

Close Calls

I was trying to load pictures of my bikes from the previous article, but due to camera problems I will have to delay that much anticipated supplement. So here's my most recent 2 cents worth.
If you're going to ride the streets you need to bring your awareness level up to 110%. You need to pay attention like your the lead man on a search and destroy mission in the jungles of Vietnam. If you can maintain this awareness and keep from doing any stupid things your survival chances will be very good!
Today I almost got hit twice, but since I'm always looking for it I was able to avoid both. The first was a lady backing out of a driveway. I was on the sidewalk. Whenever I'm on a sidewalk my main concern is someone backing out of their driveway. I never ride fast on the sidewalks and I always keep my eyes peeled to the driveways as I approach them. Here I listen for the sound of an engine and look for smoke coming out of a tail pipe. I spotted this lady just as she started to pull out and stopped within a foot of her door.
Second encounter is another common hazard. Crossing an intersection cars on the opposite side with the same green light waiting to turn left. I always try to get to the front of the line at a light so everyone will see me, but I don't always make it. Today was one of those days. The last place you want to be is last, because you're scrambling to make the light and the opposite traffic wants to make their turn before the light changes. If I'm last I try to stay on the rear bumper on the left where the turning car will hopefully see me or I stay on the last cars right side using this car as a blocker for any turning traffic. Today I was on the right side of a car crossing he sped up unexpectedly leaving me exposed. The turning car didn't see me and made his turn. I was still close enough to the first car and going fast enough to avoid the hit. I was also aware of the turning car at all times so I was prepared to avoid him.
Be aware of your surroundings look at each car and think what would he need to do to hit me and keep this in mind. Always think ahead to which route is best and how to avoid the tight traffic. I have spots at intersections that are bad that I just hop the sidewalk to get past them then drop back on the street, but even sidewalks aren't safe. I had a lady go up onto the sidewalk in front of me apparently she went to reach for a dropped cell phone or something and lost it.
So heads up and be careful out there.

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