Pay Attention While Driving, Dammit

I’m grinding uphill at about 5 mph on Jackson Drive, in the middle of the surprisingly good shoulder, with the bright-red Planet Bike taillight blinking away to the rear. I am not inconspicuous, but …

You’ll never see the one that kills you:

Near Miss - Jackson Drive - 2014-05-03 - 1
Near Miss – Jackson Drive – 2014-05-03 – 1

The speed limit is 40 mph = 60 ft/s. The door-to-shoulder clearance might have been the better part of a foot; the mirror didn’t quite clip my arm.

The license plate is legible in the original image, although I’ve blurred it here:

Near Miss - Jackson Drive - 2014-05-03 - 2
Near Miss – Jackson Drive – 2014-05-03 – 2

Adrenaline is wonderful stuff; I caught up with him at the next light … uphill and 1/3 mile later:

Near Miss - Jackson Drive - 2014-05-03 - 3
Near Miss – Jackson Drive – 2014-05-03 – 3

I said “Hey!” When he looked over, I explained I needed a face to go with the plate and pointed to the camera. He said he was really, really, really sorry.

I’ll not ascribe to malice what can be explained by distraction; if he wanted to hassle me, I’d be dead now. Most likely, it’s one of those distracted driving things that happens to all of us … to some, alas, far more frequently than to others.

Took a while for the shakes to stop.

Put down that damn phone / tablet / burger and pay attention!

[Update: Still images captured from the Sony HDR-AS30V helmet camera, recorded at 1920×1080 60 fps.]

5 thoughts on “Pay Attention While Driving, Dammit

  1. I’m glad it worked out. I had one (all too) memorable experience with a driver like that. When he brush-passed me (nearing a light, so it wasn’t fast, but way too close), I misplaced my temper and shouted at him called him a blithering idiot. Turns out, it was malice. Not fun dodging a car trying to induce a car-bike collision, then “talking” to the person as he got out of his car. Mercifully, all he had was a lit cigarette and a poor aim, but the cardio workout was a lot more intense that evening. Two blinken lights and a steady taillight, so I don’t think it started as distraction.

    I’ve seen another incident of road rage against a cyclist, but amazingly, the cyclist wasn’t hurt (car backed up and knocked the bike/rider down at a signal, then ran the light and disappeared).

    Misquoting Heinlein: “an armed society is a polite society”.

    1. It’s tough to maintain icy detachment in an adrenaline bath, but they’re always bigger and meaner and better equipped than I am…

      1. FWIW, in our county, concealed carry is rather common (last stat I heard, there were 3000 permits out of 60,000 residents). Compared to the San Jose area (200 permits out of millions), folks here are a lot slower to fly off the handle, even in stressful circumstances. You never know if you are outgunned, so to speak. [grin]

        A fellow San Jose cyclist regretted that open carry wasn’t legal then and there. Could have been interesting, in the Chinese sense.

  2. I know the spot – you made good time going up that hill to catch him before the light changed. Adrenaline indeed!

    1. Feel the burn

      Close calls like that don’t happen very often, fortunately, but I’ve found stirring the cranks like crazy puts the fight-or-flight energy boost to good use.

Comments are closed.