Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why I hate to ride my bike in Burlingame

Our sponsor shop is in Burlingame (Summit Bikes). Periodically, I'll ride from home over to see them. As it's been hot, I'm trying to ride in the heat to acclimate, so I headed over yesterday around 11:30. While riding along the gutter line on California Avenue (4-lane road) a car came within inches of me with their mirror. I was a bit miffed and raised up my hand like "what the hell?", especially since the other lane was completely devoid of cars. Well, unfortunately for both of us, the car hit the light red at the next intersection. I rolled up, not looking for a confrontation, but wanting to just say, "hey, you got really close to me, please be careful.". Oh, that's so NOT what I got... Me: "Hey, do you know how close you got to me back there?". Psycho woman driver: "It's YOUR fault. You swerved out in front of me!". Me: "Umm, no I didn't. All I'm saying..." PWD: "IT'S YOUR FAULT. YOU SWERVED IN FRONT OF ME! HAVE A NICE DAY! HAVE A NICE DAY!!!" Me, "Look, lady, do you understand..." PWD: "HAVE A NICE DAY! HAVE A NICE DAY!" The more I tried to say, the more she interrupted me. I should have known that on a day close to 100, with all her windows rolled down, that her brain was probably pooched from the heat, and that trying to reason with a psycho is a moot point. Sort of like, jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, etc. I was so shook up that someone could have such little regard for another's safety that I just yelled at her (over her still screaming at me), "Nice, well, it's obvious that you're a psycho. Have a nice day!" and rolled forward.

In hindsight, so many things come to mind. Like, if I really wanted to get hit, I'd not mess around with a car, and I'd go and "swerve" in front of a bus. Or does it not imply the motorist isn't morally obligated to avoid hitting a cyclist, even if the cyclist swerves a bit? For the record, I didn't even twitch. I can ride a line without wavering for a very long time. Then there's always the stuff you think of saying hours after the fact. Like, "It's nice the mental institution lets you out for the weekend, but you really SHOULD go back before someone gets hurt.". That would have been a fun comeback. But likely, the way she was acting, she probably did it on purpose, and then was mortified to hit the light and then, on top of that, be confronted. Well, if you endanger me, and I can catch you, I WILL confront you. I don't regret confronting her, but I regret that it kind of consumed me for the day and that's such a waste.

Not more than 45 minutes later, after stopping at Summit to get COLD water and visit, I headed back towards home. Checking out the course for the Burlingame Crit next Sunday. On my second pass, as I was getting ready to get out of the madness of downtown, some asshat in front of me (I was a safe 4-5 bike lengths away, but we were doing close to 20), decides to SLAM on his brakes to let a pedestrian cross (not in a crosswalk). Holy sh*t. I slammed on the brakes and missed slamming into his bumper by about 1/2 inch. God, I was furious. And you know what? HE NEVER EVEN SAW ME. The pedestrian did, but not the motorist. Wow... I decided that I couldn't get out of there fast enough and there was a huge blockage at the next intersection, so I stopped (full stop) and then proceeded through the 2 cars blocking the entire intersection, only to be nearly pegged by someone turning right. I hit the brakes again, they let me go (I have no idea if that was my fault or not - I was pretty shook up by then). I got out of there as fast as I could, in tears.

I have had more "near death" experiences in Burlingame than I ever have in San Francisco, Los Gatos, Redwood City, South City or Foster City. All places I consider to be more dangerous than Burlingame. But I've been proven wrong again and again.

All I can say is that I felt safer than I have in ages on the bike path yesterday. And my SRAM Red brakes work REALLY well.

1 comment:

velogirl said...

it's the pedestrians.