When I rode across the country with America by Bicycle in 2007 (this photo is me in Missouri), ride leader Mike Munk did a great job explaining the rules of the road and the best ways to ride safely. One interesting thing he said was that if we ignore rules and do not properly share the road, an agitated motorist might take his anger out on the NEXT rider down the road rather than the one who pissed him off. In other words, YOU may get away with it, but your poor comrade up ahead could pay the price for your bad behavior.
This “revenge phenomenon” may have occurred to me a week ago. Out on a lonely farm road, I was descending a fairly steep hill at 35 mph. No other cars were in sight behind or in front except for a single car coming up the hill. Suddenly the car crossed over the center line and was aimed directly at me! It kept coming, and soon she was completely in my lane still headed right at me. I moved as far to the right as I could, and as she got pretty close, she turned away.
I say “she” because as she passed by me within a few feet (with about a 75 mph differential), I looked at the driver. She had a snarly, pissed-off look. What did I do to deserve this???
Since I did nothing to her, maybe it was a previous cyclist she encountered who pissed her off and I was the next cyclist she saw. However, if someone’s that crazy to drive across into my lane right at me, who knows if what pissed her off was the fault of the cyclist or whether she just didn’t know a cyclist’s rights and incorrectly thought the cyclist was being a jerk. Maybe the fact that I was descending the hill in the center of the lane made her think she had to “teach” me to ride on the far right side of the road, (Of course, a cyclist is to ride as far to right as practicable only when there are vehicles approaching from behind.)
This reminds me of an incident in British Columbia in 2012 when we were riding from Montana to Alaska. I had to stop at a road work site until it was our side’s turn to go. I happened to be at the front of the line, and the lane for about 30 yards was very narrow. Therefore, I rode in the center of the lane as to not “invite” the car behind to attempt an unsafe pass. It was only 30 yards, so this didn’t take long at all, yet when it widened and I move over to the right, the car behind decided to “punish” me by nudging me off the road! He must have thought I was doing something illegal, and it was his role to teach me a lesson. Canadians are too nice to have done this; it MUST have been an American. hahahaha
Blind hills and curves
The photo of me in Missouri shows many blind hills ahead. You would think that a passing car would NOT go completely into the oncoming lane when it has no clue as to whether a car will suddenly appear and come straight into him at 60 mph. Yet, this happens all the time, either at a blind hill or a blind curve. I’ve even had police cars and school buses do this, and in both cases cars DID come out of the blind spot and the cop and school bus had to slam on their brakes and swerve to avoid a head-on crash. I am amazed these drivers do not see the potential danger in this.
There must be some inner voice telling drivers that it is against the laws of nature to slow down when a cyclist is in front of them. As I said in a previous post, I even had a car pass me at a blind hill and when the oncoming car appeared, they and I all slammed on our brakes and stopped completely. There we were, the three of us blocking the road, with the two cars facing each other with their bumpers a couple feet from each other, and me to the right staring in amazement as to what just happened. I continued on after a few moments, but I’ve always wondered if one or both drivers found a reason to blame me for their near-collision.
I received the shipment of my new books yesterday! Now I can do some local promotions – or at least try. I also have my first review on Amazon, and it’s a five-star! http://www.amazon.com/Head-Over-Wheels-Tragedy-Cycling/dp/1620064987/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413417659&sr=8-1&keywords=head+over+wheels