The car sped up next to me, gunning its engine, and then swerved in front on me, taking the bike lane. He slowed for a couple seconds, and then tore off. Surprisingly, I wasn't all that startled by the event, just bewildered, and perhaps a bit discouraged.
All I could think was, "Jeez, despite the fact that I am in no way impeding his travel, this man finds my mere presence so offensive, that he has chosen the alter his course, in order to prove to me how unwanted I am by him. I can only imagine the reaction I caused within him; the momentary elevation in pulse and blood pressure, perhaps he perspired a bit. Did he fling unheard curse words at me through tinted glass? Or, did he laugh or cheer in some sort of victory as he sped past me in his late model BMW? Who knows. The bottom line is that neither one of us really felt very good.
Getting buzzed by cars really sucks. I have had my fair share of it too. Here are a few of my favorite "Buzz History Highlights":
A couple months ago I was riding in Kirkland (or maybe I was in Kenmore) on a street where bikes can take the whole lane. The speed limit was 25mph, (but I was only doing ~20) and since the lane was wide, and I didn't want to slow people up if I didn't need to, I had chosen to ride to the right. Several cars passed me. A couple passed without altering their course, but this still allowed a reasonably safe distance between us, while others crossed the center-line to give me a wider birth. (I am quite tickled by this gesture. I do not want anyone to endanger themselves unnecessarily or anything, I just think of it as chivalrous.) :) Anyways, can you believe that I got buzzed by a flippin' LAMBORGHINI?? And on a road that I could have been riding smack dab down the middle of, but chose not to?? Who drives a Lamborghini anyway? Gross. I can think of lot better ways to spend a whole ton of money. [insert Want it Wednesday here] Hehehe.
So that's just few stories of many, and I know there will be many more to come, unfortunately.
Motorists just have no idea how dangerous their little prank is, or how huge the consequences can be. Merely being startled can cause a cyclist to lose control of their bike enough to cause them to crash. Speaking from experience, crashing hurts. Pavement is hard, and road rash is hellishly painful, and then equally as itchy later on. Even a minor crash can result in broken bones and other serious injury. Let's not forget the other traffic out there either. If a cyclist falls, another car could then hit them, which we all know could be potentially fatal.
Injury and death aside, there is also the issue of the damage caused to the cyclist's bike and gear. For many, a bike is their primary mode of transportation, and the loss of its use would be devastating. Not everyone can afford Lamborghini's, ya know! Not everyone can afford to fix or replace a damaged bike either.
Oh Rodney, you say it best, "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"
Other than BMW guy, everyone else I encountered this morning on my bike was lovely. I am even choosing to include the two "Texas Roadblocks," just because they were all so sweet when I came up behind them and politely made myself known. I'm telling you, when the sun shines in Seattle, people get super nice...except BMW guy...he was a poo head. I encountered him in Lynnwood though, and Lynnwood does suck in general.
I did all my travel today via Lucy, which got in my bike time and my hills (which I took standing up.) I also got in a pool workout (focused on kick drills), and a massage! I'd call it a good day with a little "hiccup."