I wanted to let this sit for a day. I came within about one second of being seriously injured, or worse, yesterday. And I really should have been more frightened. I’m not exactly sure why I’m not still.
Regular readers know I’m a fairly avid cyclist. I’ve been spending a lot of time on my bike the past couple of months, and that and about 1,500 – 1,800 calories a day have resulted in the loss of about 13 pounds so far. I’m hoping for a lot more, but it’s a good start. It didn’t all go on overnight, but it seems like we’d like for it to all go away overnight. Still, I could write the worlds shortest diet book. “Eat Less, Exercise More”. Chapter 2? Repeat.
But I digress.
I was stopped at the intersection of Florida Boulevard and 3rd street. I do occasionally make a right on red at that intersection, but yesterday there was more oncoming traffic than I really like for that maneuver. I recall looking left, seeing the oncoming SUV, and deciding to wait.
Then, the Dodge 2500 beside me started to move. I glanced up at the light, and it was green. “Great,” I thought. “Let’s go.”
I started into the intersection, and the truck beside me honked his horn. The black Chevy Blazer that I had seen in the distance, blew through the light like he hadn’t even seen it. If not for the driver of the pickup honking his horn, I’d have been hit. He whizzed by us in a blur, and barely slowed down when he realized what he’d done.
Strangely, I didn’t have that “I almost died” adrenaline rush. I made a “WTF” gesture at the SUV, and proceeded on across Third and finished my ride. I think the older gentleman driving the truck was more scared than I was. If he’d have proceeded on into the intersection, he’d have been T-Boned, and likely pushed into me.
It’s the second time I’ve come close to dying. The first was a near mid-air collision days after I’d received my pilot’s license. It didn’t keep me from flying, either.
But what’s the deal with running the light.
I have no way to know if the driver of the SUV was on the phone, not paying attention to his or her driving, maybe text messaging, or if they just didn’t want to wait the 30-40 seconds (literally) that traffic is stopped on Third street to allow cars to cross on Florida Boulevard. Not that it matters. They blew through the light, and I saw another car do it on Pennman Road as I was going home. What I do know is, for some reason, I wasn’t hit, but if I had started through the intersection a second earlier, I’d be writing this from the hospital if I was able to write at all. My little plastic helmet would not have done me a bit of good.
So please, if you drive on Third Street at the beach, please, please, please be careful. The lights are short, you’re probably going to be late anyway, so those additional 30 or 40 seconds are not going to matter much, and you’re going to feel really, really horrid if you hit someone. There are lots of bikes at the beach, and its up to everybody to pay attention.
Oh, and I do have right to ride my bike on the road. Sidewalks are for walking. Cars are supposed to share the road with cyclists. So stop giving me those loving looks and phrases of encouragement.