Close Call

I am aware of my mortality and fragility every time I get on the bike.  Road rash–a benign euphamism for what happens when skin meets pavement–and a cracked bone in my thumb are the worst of it for me.  I have been lucky.  Our recent bike trip was accident-free, with one near-miss in particular.  We were approaching Burlington, VT on Route 7, a busy multi-lane state road, preparing to take a left turn and a quieter route.  Six of us were on bikes, seeking a clearing in the traffic to move from the far right into the left-hand-turn lane.  I was second from the front.  I singled for the left turn, then looked back to see if I had room to move over.  I saw behind me four bikers in the middle lane, moving further to the left, with traffic slowed to allow them to proceed.  Perfect, I thought, and angled left.  Just as I started to move Fred, in front of me, yelled “WATCH OUT!”  I straightened the bike and looked to my left.  There was a car, traveling perhaps at 20 mph, in the spot where I would have been had Fred not shouted the warning.  Driving was a woman in her early 20s, her left hand on the wheel and right hand manipulating buttons on a cell phone, at which she stared intently.  She had woven through the four bikers behind me and was oblivious to my presence a few feet from her passenger window–and nearly on her front bumper.  I suggested a solo activity she might enjoy amid the chorus of yells and exclamations.  She responded to the situation with a flip of her middle finger–I can’t recall whether it was the driving or cell phone hand–and drove on.

One thought on “Close Call”

  1. be careful prof. randall! i want to take your courses and i am sure your other students do as well. Hope you are having a great summer!

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