So Fall has finally come! With temperatures now dropping easily into the “hand numbing” regions I have been throughly enjoying my ride…well most of the time. So in a previous post I alluded to a confrontation with a car that I linked to a post on Craigslist regarding. Well I was the poster of said Craigslist post and the confrontation was of the, unfortunately, pedestrian variety bike vs. car. While I may have been rather abrasive as a youth I consider myself to be far advanced in the areas of communication and diplomacy since those days and turns out some automobile drivers are too! Like I stated, I have been really enjoying the fall weather and riding even if it has been behind a guy on a single speed MTB who rides the entire Belle Island trail on south side to the reedy creek entrance and then heads straight for riverside drive to ride back.( as happened yesterday) I didn’t understand either but I guess he had those disc brakes installed for style points. Anyhow, this morning I had yet another run in with an auto, actually a Toyota 4 runner SUV, that was much more dangerous than the intentional pull out that happened a couple weeks ago (not that type of intentional pull out, as that type is actually a precursor to safer behaviour not more dangerous). Again though this all occurred on Forest Hill ave right in front of CrossRoads Coffee and Tea and although my ego was somewhat damaged my bike and myself thankfully were not. Normally, I gain as much speed as possible on the way east on Forest Hill to cross the reedy creek bridge and get up what is really the only hill I must climb on my route to work. Today I wasn’t really going that fast which was good because the before mentioned SUV of death turned into the parking lot directly in my path. I was so stunned and concerned about stopping in time, which almost didn’t happen by literally centimeters and with the assistance of the two foot down/ abandon your bike/ bail out/ intentional pull out method of dismount that I really didn’t have time to be angry or comprehend what happened next. I started to head in the parking lot to, at the least, notify the driver that I almost died and would have made a big dent in his quarter panel, when the window came rolling down in the most electrically driven of ways to a somber face with an embarrassed expression and a regretful apology. This guy seemed so genuinely apologetic for what he had done and even offered to buy me a coffee all the while explaining he rides bikes and had been hit before (i find that questionable but maybe he meant cut off in the most dangerous of fashions by someone in an SUV). I was really out of sorts anyway from the closeness of the encounter that I let him know that I felt he was quite genuine in his response and the mere fact that he understood how stupid how he cut me off was was ample apology for my puposes and I was late for work anyway and did not want to be bothered with trying to make him feel better over coffee.
The point of all this is something that I stated in my post on Craigslist which is that once we start treating each other with the respect due, we can begin to live and work together (commute together) in the most harmonious of ways. Maybe we won’t achieve world peace but this guy was genuinely apologetic and I was more than happy to accept that. I am sure he went to work thinking what a dumb move he made but I wouldn’t want him to dwell on it anyway but rather to consider checking his mirror for the bicyclist he just passed when making a right turn. Fall is here, and you have been a student at VCU for almost half a semester now. Time to quit riding no hands down main street the wrong way and time to stop running red lights without slowing down….oh and for that dude listening to the Ipod when we were both riding up Hanover today at lunchtime….you need to stop at red lights too because I thought I was going to have to scrape your face off of the asphalt when you ran through the light at Hanover and Meadow. I side with cyclists most of the time but many cyclists drive autos as well and even they will cut you off every now and again. I think my experience today simply reinforces what we all know which is nobody is perfect but everyone can be considerate regardless so please…..check your mirror before turning and don’t ride the wrong way down one way streets.