I Almost Didn't Make 33.


Figure 1 Notes:

I’m on my bike on my way back from the gym.  It’s lunch time, and broad daylight.  I’m over to the left hand side of the road, formulating my plan for the turn into the road on the right.  I am dressed in my hideous luminous safety jacket.  I am visible from outer space.

Figure 2 Notes:

Here, I am executing what’s known in cycling circles as ‘taking the lane’, or similar expression.  It’s used to assert your position and discourage cars from trying to speedily squeeze past you in a tight space.  Drivers who aren’t cyclists often don’t realise how terrifying that can be, or indeed how close their wing-mirror (or worse) can come to you because they’re not quite as spacially aware as they thought.

Here, it is serving a triple purpose, since I need to move to the centre of my lane to make the turn anyway and I can see the oncoming car thinking about trying to squeeze between me and the parked cars.  I can also hear an engine in the distance behind me, so I indicated to pull right into the middle well in advance of making any move.  Then I moved.

Like the rest of my top half, my right arm is luminous yellow.  It hasn’t escaped the attention of the oncoming vehicle, who slows.

Figure 3 Notes:

WTF?!  The car behind me was travelling much, much too fast, easily outside the speed limit, and although I have slowed to see what the oncoming car will do and also because I need to make the turn, I’m not yet at a standstill.

Instead of just waiting the ten seconds it would take both me and the oncoming vehicle to get out of the way, the turd decides to accelerate to even greater speeds to get around me to my right side into the narrow space between me and the parked cars, and into the path of the oncoming vehicle.    Unbelievable!   Heaven forbid that their almighty self be required to wait an extra ten seconds.  Heaven forbid that they choose the safer but still ridiculous move of heading to my left and mounting the grass verge.  No, that would make one’s car muddy.

There were centimetres in it, folks.  I didn’t get the number plate: all I could manage was an arm gesticulation.

I’m going to take this public space to say that too many cyclists die on the road and today I was almost one of them.  If he had hit me it would have been at the very least a serious injury and probably, given his speed, game over.  The vast majority of us ride very safely and have eyes and ears in all directions because GUESS WHAT we realise we’re pretty vulnerable to people driving like fuck-wits.  In a collision, we’re going to come off much, much worse than someone wearing a vast metal shield.

On my return home, I realised that I had removed my key from my fob on Saturday to take it with me on my run and forgotten to put it back.  I was locked out, and only had a key for the back door.  I wasted twenty minutes bunking over the back fence, getting dirty, tearing my luminous jacket, and swearing.

Tomorrow’s another day.

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4 Responses to “I Almost Didn't Make 33.”


  1. 1 clay ball November 22, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Oh my goodness…thank goodness you made it!!!!

    ((((big hugs))))

    p.s. I think I did see your jacket whilst cruising in outer space…

  2. 2 Jen on the Edge November 23, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Jeez, that’s terrifying. I’m glad you’re okay.

    (And just for the record, for a moment there, I thought the entire world had gone crazy and that everyone was in the wrong lanes. But then I remembered that you’re British and that everything you guys do on the road is the reverse of what we do here. This is why I’ve never once driven while visiting the Mother Country and also why the husband, children, and I grab each other’s hands tightly and pray fervently whenever we cross roads in London.)

  3. 3 Jenn @ Juggling Life November 23, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I’m glad you are okay. I see the same selfishness by cars when I’m walking. Why must you stalk me as I cross the street. Just. Wait.

  4. 4 cora November 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    OMG! Glad you’re ok.
    I was late in getting my driver’s license and was a fervent biker (still am), which makes me more aware of the dangers I’m putting fellow road-users in when I’m in my car. My rule nr1: bikers and pedestrians go first (especially in crappy weather)
    Going on a biking holiday or something like that should be mandatory before they give you your driver’s license.


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