Monday, 25 January 2010

Tumble Time II

This morning, whilst commuting to work on the black bike, I had a hair-raising experience. I was going through a series of crossings by the Britannia Inn, on Outland road, when a car skipped the lights.

The picture below is of the intersection. The yellow line shows where I was cycling, the red line shows traffic that was moving when I crossed in front of a car that was where the blue circle is. Traffic lights were green for traffic indicated by the red arrow, and red for traffic stopped where the car circled in blue is.





While I was crossing the stationary traffic, a small silver car started driving, against the red light. It was almost exactly where the car circled in blue is shown.


I had to swerve wildly to avoid it, while ensuring I didn't just ride out into crossing traffic - this was during rush hour and the intersection was busy! Having managed to avoid getting hit by the car that was skipping the lights, I was faced with a very high kerb (roughly 30 cm's) with nowhere to go but over it.


The end result was I went over the bars, the bike and I went over the kerb and finally the bike went over me.

I was lucky and wasn't hurt at all - not a bruise, sore spot or scrape to show for it. Even my bike was fine, other than the chain having come off. I was worried that having hit that kerb I may have damaged the front rim, but it seems fine. Phew!

The car driver was in shock and had the decency to ask if I was OK. He was still parked there after I had put my chain back on and cycled off, and I think I know why. See, he just started driving and wasn't going at speed when I passed in front of him. Because of him stomping on the brakes and me swerving, no harm was really done to anybody.

Am I being too forgiving? Perhaps, perhaps not. See, there is one more fact I hadn't mentioned: though he skipped a red light, so had I. The pedestrian/cyclist crossing light was red before I started crossing. I knoew it was red and chose to cross, because I believed the cars facing their own red lights couldn't go anywhere, due to cross-flowing traffic on a green light. I was wrong - one car at least could go somewhere, even if only forward enough to cause me to fall.

Still, if I wasn't there, and he had pulled into a stream of traffic crossing at 30 mph it would have been a different picture altogether! Somebody may well have been seriously hurt!

So what lessons can I learn from this? Well, quite a few, actually:
1) Commuting the same route can make me complacent. Time for a route change!
2) My efforts to control my anger are yielding dividends! I didn't even curse the driver, but instead asked if he was OK. (No, I don't know why, either!)
3) I'm going to have to be WAY more alert when crossing on red
4) I will continue to cross on red, IF it is safe to do so
5) The black bike handles crashes rather well! :-D