Nearly Punched My Card Today
First let me start off by saying this is a motorcycle story, not a bicycle story.
"But this is a bicycle forum!" I hear you say in your head.
I included this because I think there is a LOT of similarities between my experience in this thread and cycling.
I commute most every day by bike, regardless of weather (unless lightning). I had to get my last gift for Christmas today after work, and as luck would have it, it is also the ONLY gift I have had to get in a store versus online.
Normally I'd take the bike, but due to some time constraints and the route I would have to take, I thought the motorcycle was a better choice. Now let me clarify as well, I am required by regulation to wear a bright yellow hi-viz vest with a specified amount of reflective material on it visible from the front, sides and back. I also have a 1" reflective band around my helmet and reflective knuckles on my gloves and heel gussets on my boots. On top of this, my motorcycle is a BRIGHT orange and has a sidecar on it; kinda hard to miss.
Background story, my buddy Neil was nearly killed a few years back when an old guy decided he didn't want to wait for traffic and drove in the suicide lane and then pulled a "left cross" right in front of Neil. He has had more surgeries than I can bother to count and is 100% disabled now.
Anyway, so I made my purchase an am coming home on a road, one lane each way with a suicide lane. There is NO one behind me at this point and I'm moving at 40 mph in a 40 zone. Up ahead at a light (I have the green as does the opposing direction, it is a "T" instersection with the cross street to my right) I see a car in the suicide lane, no signal, but moving. Right away something doesn't seem right and as usual I'm covering my front brake. I ease up on the throttle and start to drag my rear brakes (rear of motorcycle and sidecar wheel), all of a sudden this old man (notice above story similarities) turns left in front of me. I was so close, I had NO escape route. I squeezed the front brake right up until lock-up and the same with the rear; I could actually SEE my reflection in his front passenger window. I started thinking "Okay, I can try to jump to prevent breaking my femurs/pelvis, maybe I can roll to the side, nah, there's oncoming traffic."
I do NOT know how we didn't make contact, I think between him turning and me stopping I had maybe a good 7 inches between my front tire and the side of his car.
I got home parked the motorcycle and called my father, at one time a year round motorcyclist (in NYC and NJ). He said he hung up his helmet and sold his motorcycle after a close call one day. I don't remember the story when it happened, as we used to ride all of the time, I just remember him bringing the motorcycle somewhere and I never saw it again.
Lookling back, I had several factors stacked against me.
1. Rush Hour-people are stressed and tired from work and just want to get home as fast as possible.
2. The holiday season- I call it the silly season, because, honestly, people do things they normally wouldn't do between Thanksgiving and Christmas
3 Major shopping area- where I live, there isn't a lot of shopping, so I think people get a bit nutty around here to get their purchases done and over with
Be careful out there.