I didn’t really win. I don’t feel like a winner. Its more like I didn’t lose. In a big way.
This morning I was riding along, minding my own business, when I glance up I see a car speeding straight at me in my lane. That is right! A car was passing another vehicle and coming straight at me.
I quickly swerved off of the road into the grass. My first inclination was to stop and shake my fist at the errant driver. Instead, I turned to see the car spinning out of control. Smoking skid marks on the road and smoking tires. The pickup that was being passed slowed, stopped… and drove away.
I rode back to the car to see if the driver was all right. She had apparently lost control of her car when she instinctively slammed on the brakes upon seeing me looming in her windshield.
No injuries to either of us. That is the huge win. Externally, it looks like she lost her side view mirror to a fencepost. It remains to be seen if she bent the frame or did any other hidden damage. She was also very stuck in the mud. Many people stopped to see if they could render assistance. We were not able to push her out of the mud.
The sheriff arrived and took my story and my personal information. Then he let me leave. I do not expect any more involvement in this incident unless perhaps her insurance company calls to corroborate her story.
I did not speak with the driver except to ensure she was all right. I have no idea how fast she was going, although it was obviously faster than the vehicle she was passing. I don’t know how fast the other vehicle was going and that driver did not stick around for us to find out. I have no idea how long she was behind that “slower” vehicle; did he just pull out in front of her or had she been following him for miles and miles?
I do know that she skidded on dry pavement. She turned 180° and backed into the shoulder at a fairly fast pace given the length of the skid marks. I do not even know for sure if she successfully passed the other vehicle before spinning out, although I doubt it very much.
Praise the Lord that I “happened” to look up and see the car coming at me in time. I am usually quite aware of my surroundings. However, this all happened very quickly. I was climbing a slight grade and the two vehicles “popped” over the crest of the hill. I did not expect either of the vehicles and I certainly didn’t expect one of them to be cruising straight at me in my lane.
I can’t tell you how close I was to being hit. I think I was fairly well clear of the road by the time they blew by me. Again, it just happened too fast to even register. I was in the grass, not even on the shoulder of the road when I stopped to turn and look. Initially I was traveling about nine miles an hour. It doesn’t take long to stop from nine miles an hour, up hill, in the grass. The motor vehicles were a good distance from me by the time I turned.
The first picture below was taken from where I went off the road. However, it was taken well after the event happened, as indicated by the Sheriff in the picture. I snapped it when I left the scene to finish my ride and go home.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? It takes a lot of the fun out of bicycling, I can tell you that! It will probably be a while before I can relax when a car is approaching. Still, biking has got to be considered safer than driving. Let me know what you think in the comments.