Let there be no confusion, I am an (well not an) advocate and (but most definitely an) ally (in the most generous definition of the word) of any and every person who decides to take to the streets on a bicycle. The commitment to clean air, the ozone layer, reducing gridlock and personal health are examples to us all. I believe that all major cities that are worth a damn, should have dedicated bike lanes so that bike riders and even bicycle cops can move about the city safely.
So it saddens my heart when a member of the biking community doesn’t feel like I have their best interests and safety in mind. Take for instance this lady I may or may not have almost run into yesterday.
I’m taking a short cut home to avoid some of the traffic of rush hour. I’m cutting through a fairly nice neighborhood by Rice University. It’s a neighborhood, so there’s practically a stop sign at every other intersection. Being the attentive and courteous driver that I am, I note and obey each traffic sign without taking in to much scenery.
So imagine my surprise when I see this Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wannabe riding some vintage bike, with her big shades, and scarf waving behind her head glide into the intersection with no cares needed. I had to stop short, as I was pulling into the intersection after being stopped at a stop sign to avoid an accident.
She wrinkled her brow and turned right onto the street I was heading down all in one clean motion. I watched her pull to the side and prepared to hear some obscenities hurled at me. My windows were already down, as I was playing something belligerent at volumes not really acceptable for a man my age, but I rolled by and overheard her say something about “YOU HAD THE STOP SIGN!”.
I was emotionally confused for several reasons:
– I could have hit and severely injured and possibly killed this woman.
– I could have just injured this woman.
– My cat like reflexes allowed me press the brake in time.
– I just saved this woman’s life.
– Was this my fault?
– Or did she just roll through the intersection all willy nilly?
– Why is she screaming at me?
You’re right Jackie O, I did have the stop sign, and I had the feeling of wanting to tell her that I might not have seen her due to my inattentiveness behind the wheel, and that I was truly sorry for scaring you and almost ending your life, so when I spoke I tried to be as gentle as possible when I said, “SHUTUP!” and continued listening to whatever belligerent nonsense I was listening to before I almost ran into Jackie O.