Near-Miss Incident Report: The case of the no-look swerver

Some time ago I was Just Riding along solo in an extremely quiet part of my neighborhood–I mean so quiet there’s people that actually let their children bike and play in the street–when I was nearly clobbered by an inattentive driver coming at me from the right side of a T-junction.

This part of the neighborhood has relatively narrow streets and a bunch of non-signed intersections that everyone rolls through politely.  This one, though, was blasting through the T-junction at about 20 mph already in the center of his/her street and making a left onto the dead center of the street I was on.  At the last minute he/she looked and course-corrected.

This was a tough one to avoid–instinct would have been to slow or pull right but slowing would’ve left me in harm’s way and the road is so narrow I don’t know if pulling right would’ve helped (recall that the driver was heading into the center of the street).  A major veer left would probably have saved the day with me on the sidewalk; hopefully I would’ve thought of oncoming traffic in time.  Looking back, I’m not sure if I thought of this after the fact or if I actually squeezed left when the car started coming at me.  As I reflect on this I think it’s the latter.

Future preventative action: Just Riding Along at a reasonable speed did give me enough time to look out for this ridiculousness.  Being ready to downshift and haul away or jump aside helped as well.

Of course, the biggest thing of all was good ole mindfulness: I was attentive to my path and surroundings (not “thinking about” them, which is what I almost wrote and that would be wrong) and was able to act in the moment.  Not worrying about work, traffic on the (ha ha) more “dangerous” parts of the ride, or anything else.