Many cycling blogs, including mine, point out the truly dumb moves made by many people in their cars (and sometimes on bike). If we're honest with ourselves, we'll realize that all of us suffer from momentary inattention, even while driving. I know I've made the occasional bone headed move. I think it was Tom Vanderbilt in his book Traffic who wrote that he wished there's a way he could signal to another driver an acknowledgment that he goofed, a kind of non verbal "Mea Culpa, my fault, I'm sorry!"
I felt the need to share a painful lesson so others might profit from it. I am proud to say that I pay attention to pedestrians and bicyclists, but it would seem only 99 percent of the time. Having a near miss on Wharf to Wharf day, and after an angry exchange with the bicycle riders, I realized that my anger was not at the riders but with myself. I was wrong, not paying attention and frankly engaged in life-threatening driving conduct. Were it not for the care and alert actions of the riders, it would have been disastrous. Bottom line? Being aware 99 percent of the time is just no enough. When my 1 percent meets with a rider's 1 percent, the result is pain, injury and sadly sometimes death. Fatigue, distraction, dirty windshields, sun in my eyes are just feeble excuses. Let's all go for the last 1 percent.
IMPORTANT: Please post comments for this article at the new CYCLELICIOUS 2.0 version of this page.
I had a near miss one time and the driver pointed his fingers to his head like a make believe gun and pretended to blow his brains out. He smiled sheepishly, and I had to smile back. I thought what a great way to say non-verbaly, "My bad."