KarlR
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KarlR, October 30,  2020  6:33pm EST

BOO!! Frightening bad drivers while exercising.

Given that the theme for the upcoming week is "Spooooky and Terrifying" (which covers both Halloween and the election), I thought I'd post something slightly different....

For this morning's exercise, I decided to bike up a mixed-use path (pedestrians and bicycles) through an upper-class neighborhood.  But since this path is entirely through a series of subdivisions, there are lots of sidestreets that cross the path ... even though the path has the right-of-way in all but a few spots.

Encounter #1:

One car on a sidestreet stopped and was just barely encroaching into the bike path.  Since the car was about two blocks ahead of me, I couldn't tell whether the driver had looked in my direction.  As I got closer, I realized that she was trying to make a right turn out of her neighborhood ... but she hadn't glanced once to see if anyone was coming up on her blind side (which is exactly what I was doing).

Since I was paying attention (and I have a sense of self-preservation), I decided to jam on my brakes, rather than passing directly in front of her car.  Two seconds after I came to a complete stop, she started accelerating -and then- swiveled her head around in my direction.

At that point, she finally realized there was a cyclist just feet from her car.  By the time she managed to bring her car to a complete stop, the front bumper was about a foot across the far side of the bike path.  It was clear that she was having a (terrified) mea culpa moment ... realizing that she could have killed someone.

My expression (or absolute lack thereof) probably didn't make her feel any better.  I was wearing sunglasses and a face mask, so I was probably about as unreadable as Jason's hockey mask in Friday the 13th.

Encounter #2:

As I came up to another sidestreet (where I again had the right-of-way), I saw an SUV coming (illegally) quickly out of a subdivision.  My impression of the SUV's speed was reinforced when it bottomed out as it came up to the bike path.

Again (looking out for my own survival), I slammed on the brakes.  A fraction of a second later, there was a screech of tires as the SUV slammed on the brakes.

As I said, the SUV was driving illegally fast for a side street.

At first I thought the driver was wearing a Halloween mask.  Then I realized that she was like me ... wearing sunglasses and a face mask.

Even in the absence of expression, it really doesn't take much to figure out what's going through someone's mind.  Like the previous driver, she suddenly realized how close she had come to killing someone.

Side note:

I'm describing both of the drivers as female, because they were.  That's not a comment on the relative driving ability of the sexes.  If we assume that both sexes are equally lousy drivers (which my experience suggests is true), there would be a 1 in 4 chance that both lousy drivers (today) would be women ... just based on statistical likelihood.

Final thoughts:

Exercising can be dangerous.  Be alert.  Be aware.  Be the one scaring the bad drivers, rather than the other way around.

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