Today’s bike ride home I was flying. I hit every light just about perfectly, and was feeling great and strong and smooth. I was making great time, and it didn’t even feel like I was working too hard. I even thought a bit about how lucky I am to be able to have such rides — both the time and the ability. I cruised along, down the same roads I commute on all the time. A bit over half way, around 7 miles into the ride, I was on a major road. 4 lanes, 2 each direction. Just cruisin’. No lights nearby, and only a few very small side streets. As I’m about to pass one of these side streets in the middle of a straightaway over a mile long, I see a semi (a gianormous deep red one, with a full trailer — yet now I remember much more vividly the black edging on his grill) coming to the edge with the busy road. He is slowing as he approaches the stop sign he has there. At this point, I was already crossing in front of his side street, about to pass in front of him. And then, he floored it. Ok, it’s a semi, they don’t move that fast. But when the front tire of your bike is starting in front of it, a semi can appear to fly. I screamed and swerved, and didn’t think I was going to make it. He was so close, and still moving faster. The people walking on the sidewalk approaching the street turned and looked, and I kept swerving to my left. When suddenly, he slammed on the breaks — I was in the center of the road, between 2 sets of yellow lines, and almost into oncoming traffic, and could feel heat from the truck’s engine on my left knee. It was so close, even with the breaking I thought it was going to catch me. Shaken, I cried “what the fuck??!?!?” and kept drilling. Still knowing I just needed to move, to get out of the way of the beast and it’s teeth. I knew if I stopped, it would be that much harder to get started again. But I was off — still flying, but hurting inside. What ifs popped into my head… and I was fighting back tears of terror. “What if I hadn’t seen him start, and hadn’t pulled left as hard as I could?” “What if there had been cars near me?’ “What if his window hadn’t been open, and he hadn’t heard me scream?” “I almost got broadsided by a semi” “Would he have even been able to tell he hit me?” “What if his window had been closed?” I pushed it, pedaling away the thoughts, pushing and driving, needing to get away. A light. It’s red. I slow, unclipping. I feel shaking, and am barely able to step down and not fall over. He pulls up next to me, a lane over. I don’t know how… I thought he was making a left as he almost hit me. Window down, he leans over “Sorry…” he says, grinning. I definitely am not grinning, and am not about to accept his apology. “Next time, STOP.” “And look.” The light changes, and I pound on. Racing myself. His license plate has a 1V then 8 or 9, and a 3 and either and 8 or 9 later. I get it, think about writing it down, and move on. I’m still pedaling… and that is enough. I go, and just keep going, all the way to the train station, where I have to stop. I look down… It took me five minutes less than a normal fast day. I was only pedaling for 35 minutes, despite how long those few seconds watching a semi accelerate directly toward me. After the train ride, I ran. And did pilates. And thought about how I was lucky to be able to do these things…
6 thoughts on “good thing I’ve been practicing screaming…”
Crap Kylie! That was a close one. Glad you are okay. The perils of bike commuting. It’s like no matter how diligent we are, we are at the mercy of inattentive drivers. It seems like every day, I’m cussing at someone or making a few gestures. The run and the pilates must have really helped ease your mind.
That guy was a jerk. Too bad they didn’t have a “How am I driving” sign on it. I would have called the number and told them exactly what I thought of his driving. Did it have a company on it? They just don’t get that they are driving deadly weapons!!!
We’ll have fun this weekend! For sure.
Wow…that was a close call. Good thing you got the “What the fuck?” down…and the screaming. Don’t think baout thw what-ifs…they’ll only scare you more. Plus, no reason to what-if it, if they didn’t happen, right?
Ya, good thing you survived. Keep safe. Remeber he has a lisence plate that reads “I’ve ate nine” (1V89)….What? Bikers???? good you are ok.
People just suck sometimes. Some people suck all the time. Glad you are okay.
Whoa, those close calls really suck. Bike commuting is a lot like our national policy on terrorism (ok it’s a stretch), but when faced with something threatening, it’s important to keep living like we normally do. We all know if more people ride, there are fewer cars on the road. More bikers on the road can only increase the level of awareness for those folks still driving their cars.
You inadvertently raised the awareness of that semi-driver. At least somewhere in the back of his mind is a ‘oh-crap-I-almost-hit-that-biker’. Down the road he will come across more bikers, maybe less aware than you. You’ve just done them a huge favor.
Glad to see you are still writing!
Hey has your stress fracture in your foot healed up? 🙂
Foot? Stress fracture? 😉 I haven’t really had it checked out. Most of the pain is gone. It only hurts to sit Indian-style now, and sometimes if I’m standing for a long time, or driving. So as I follow my mom’s advice from when I was little “So don’t do it!” hehe. I have an MRI referral, too… just haven’t followed up with it.