Had a bit of an adventure on my bike on Sunday morning. Well, I say adventure. More incident, really. I guess what they’d call a “near miss”. Although, to be frank, “near hit” would be more accurate description.
See that junction below? Yes, that one. The pink dotted line is my route. Pink in honour of my bike. The blue dotted line is a car. Blue because it looks nice.
I only go on this one-way system if it’s quiet, and always treat it with extreme caution – especially that curve where our paths meet. As you can see, it’s my right of way around the curve, but I don’t necessarily expect cars to stop so do my best to make eye contact and ride in a way that I could avoid any conflict . Well, this car was going pretty slowly, and looked like it was slowing to let me pass. We reached the junction at about the same time.
It didn’t stop.
Now, there were very few other cars around, and at no point did I feel in danger; I could have stopped or swerved off at any moment, but I just took the path a little wider to make sure the driver had seen me – and it became clear that she hadn’t, as when she finally did she came to a very sudden stop and I passed by on my way, with a look back and a gesture of “what were you thinking?”. (Not, I hasten to add, a rude one!)
And I carried on my way, and she got moving again and continued to drive slowly.
I could have left it there, but as she’d not rushed off, I thought I’d gesture for her to stop. I figured an apology was in order at the very least. So I slowed, let her catch up to me, and she stopped alongside. I wondered exactly what I’d say. But then she wound down her window, and I could see what a shock she’d had. She was in floods of tears, hands up at her face, barely able to speak. “I’m so sorry” she said, over and over again, between sobs. I certainly didn’t need to ask for an apology. In fact, she was in such a state that I ended up trying to help her calm down with some reassurance. “No harm done,” I said; “but do take it carefully next time.” Enough.
And then, as I rode on towards home, I looked at myself.
I was wearing a black coat.