Dear Diary... a glimpse into the pages of a journal written by a woman rider.
February 19, 2009
I had a close call today, and it's been difficult for me to let it go. I'm sure it's bothering me cause it involved me, my car, and nice pretty Gold Wing!
I was moving through the Bank's parking lot when I noticed some motion out of the corner of my eye. As I looked to my left, peering over the rooftops of the other parked cars, I noticed the top halves of two helmets progressing to the end of their row, next to mine. I was about four car lengths from the end of my row when the two helmets, turned right, and then right again, toward me into the row I was in. The rider and his passenger were in full view by now, but the problem was, he made such a wide sweeping turn into the row I was coming out of, that within an instant he was right in front of me like he was playing chicken! Thankfully, I was only going, about 5 to 7 mph. and him, probably likewise. I hit my brake and stopped on a dime, but while I sat there with my mouth open, I watched his passenger grab his arms in fear, as he had to make a pretty radical swerve to the right back over to his side of the row to keep from hitting me head on! He mastered this maneuver successfully, but I could tell by the look on his face, he was pretty startled as well.
He just missed hitting the front of my car by a gnat's ass! I sat there for a moment trying to settle my adrenalin rush, as I realized everything was fine. I don't know why he wasn't looking where he was turning, but I would have felt terrible if we had made contact. Anytime a bike goes down, there's chance of injury. I know it wouldn't have been tragic, but it doesn't take much to screw up a knee or an ankle to make your riding days vanish. They looked to be in their 50's or so, probably a husband and wife out enjoying the world on two wheels just like I do.
I can't even imagine how horrible it would make me feel if I were ever a contributing factor to a motorcyclist getting hurt. I don't even want to go there! I've become a much better driver in my car, since I've started riding, and I chalk that up to becoming more tuned in to what's going on around me. I tell myself... this is a good thing.
I've always felt that drivers of cars, not paying attention to us bikers, is one of our biggest risks when we're out riding. But, today I was reminded that we can make some dumb ass moves ourselves and sometimes there's nothing the driver of the car can do to avoid us. If we let our guard down and lose focus, we make ourselves vulnerable. This guy wasn't looking where he was turning, and if I had been even a little closer to the end of the isle, I would not have been able to avoid hitting him head on.
I love riding my Glide and I accept the risks. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I know I try to ride smart, and it's worth the risk, in order to receive the immense pleasure I get in return. I just hope I never forget to ride smart. After that... I'll accept whatever happens.