Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Be Careful"

The car that started it all.  Held up quite well, really, and the airbags did not deploy.

I hear this almost everyday from people who do not ride, cagers.  I think what they are really saying is "Hey, we totally suck at keeping our 2 ton+ metal/plastic motorized boxes under control.  Most of us will be playing on the phone while driving so just be aware that we may negligently run you over unless we are stopped by crashing into ourselves first."  The last two days proved this to be prophetic.

Thursday I decide to exchange the safety of the trail for a bike lane in order to stop at a Fred's Bike Shop and Zzz Records.  Got to keep my head swiveling and eyes open.  Busy road with car storage (on street parking) blocking the view of drivers leaving business.  Sure enough, a red car coming out of Bruegger's Bagels almost broadsides me as it attempts to pull out on the street.  It saw me at almost the last moment and slammed on its brakes.  Yes, foot hit the proper pedal.  I nearly drifted left out of the bike lane but held my ground.  There may have been a car in my blind spot and I would have been hit/ran over while avoiding the red car.  Parking is the real issue.  Cars are parked up to the driveway at every business on Ingersoll Ave.  Low profile vehicles are hidden.

Then the next day I witnesses the aftermath of driving mistakes.  One co-worker is telling me about a stalled vehicle on the freeway near the exit ramp, middle lane.  She had to change lanes quickly and pulled out in front of a large pick up truck who had to slam on its brakes and honk at her.  Collision avoided.  She is very nervous from this event and almost freaked out when a black truck appeared in the parking lot.  "He found me!"  It was someone else but in the age of drive bys and road rage one can never be too sure.

But 10 minutes later we looked out the window and saw 4 vehicles smashed up in our own parking lot.  Apparently, one person was pulling into a parking spot and hit the gas instead of the brakes.  She went flying over the curb, over the grass and down the other curb and hit a car and spun around.  The second attempt to hit the brakes revealed that she failed to moved her foot and the accelerator was floored again and a second vehicle was struck and this one collided into a third or fourth vehicle.  4 cars in total were involved.  Two of these cars were rendered inoperable.  Nobody was hurt, thankfully, but people were visibly shaken.  This all occurred where I often make a wide turn to line up with the walkway to the bike rack.  Those that did not witness nor hear the details of this incident said "wow, that car must have been flying through the parking lot!"

In the past, speed bumps have been employed to get people to slow down.  The maintenance people hate this because it is a major pain because they have to remove them during the winter for snow removal.  Thus, that practice has been halted but every now and then enough complaints filter through and the threat of speed bumps is communicated to the staff.  This is because of driving etiquette or the lack of.  The event I described would not have been prevented by speed bumps.  A wall was needed to stop that car!

When I got home, having miraculously missed the rain, I turned on the news and listened to reports of 4 car wrecks throughout the metro and saw a story of a truck crashing into someone's house!  Good Lord, another house ran over by a vehicle!  <link to truck crashing into house>  Perhaps if the house wore a hi-viz and reflective safety vest and had an orange flag the driver of the truck would have seen it and not have collided with it. Perhaps if someone told the house to be careful.....  This has to be the third house/vehicle collision this year and it is only the end of April.

So whenever someone sees me loading up my bike and preparing to ride home and says, "Be careful,"  I just smile and tell them to be careful, too.

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