5.31.2009

If I had 9 lives, I'm now down to 7

I still have sweat dripping off the back of my hair after what had started to be a fantastic 6 mile tempo run and ended bad. I suppose it could have ended much worse. My HR has slowed some, but I am furious and shaken up. This is now the second time in a week that I was almost hit by an expensive SUV while out training.

Last Monday on my 46 mile ride, I was cruising downhill on Lea Blvd on my way out of town. I was in the middle of an open stretch with no intersections, just smaller side street so I was down in my aero bars. I had the right of way over any traffic that might come from the side streets. A Lexus made a left turn into my lane. If there hadn't been a 3-foot paved shoulder, I would have met the rear quarter panel of the SUV for sure. I was cruising about 25 mph and couldn't reach my breaks from my riding position. I actually passed the SUV in the shoulder while trying to keep my balance and reach my brakes. By the time she saw me, I was 10 feet ahead. I was wearing my bright yellow riding jacket at the time and obeying all traffic laws.

Tonight was an even closer call. I was a little over a mile from home, finishing a good tempo run and crossing from Mission Hills back into Prairie Village when I came to a busy intersection. The traffic I was running parallel to had a green light, so I didn't slow down at the intersection. A teenage guy in a SUV was approaching perpendicular to me, but had a red light. I was at the cross walk and figured in the time it would take for him to stop, I would be out of his lane and halfway through the intersection. Except he never actually came to a stop or bothered to look in my direction. My left hand was on the hood of his car when I jumped towards the middle of the intersection to avoid being hit. My heart was in my throat by the time I reached the sidewalk on the other side. He had just started to accelerate when he saw me.

I shook out my hands and walked for a while, fully aware all of the cars still sitting at the light were staring at me. My heart was beating at a mile a minute pace and my chest was tight. I wasn't sure if I should have been scared or mad. Maybe both. I wasn't darting in and out of traffic, the sun was still up, and he had a red light.

I usually try to make eye contact with drivers before I cross. Tonight I was hitting a good pace, close to home, at a traffic light with the right-of-way, and just made a bad assumption that a driver would come to a full stop before turning. I just wish I could tell drivers to always look for walkers and runners and that cyclists are travelling much faster than think. It's a good reminder to always be defensive when you're the little guy out on the road.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

Defensive biking is SO important. Cars never seem to look out for bikes. On the highways I ride...I'm always worried I'm going to get taken out by an idiot car. YIKES

Please be careful, and BOY am I glad you're a cat! Save those 7 lives though!! See ya in a week or so.