I can’t believe I forgot to tell y’all about my bike ride last Saturday, the one that almost got me killed! Or, at minimum, a nasty loss of skin and perhaps some broken bones. Maybe a concussion, if my helmet had flown off.
Riding a bicycle on the streets of Memphis is a risky prospect, at best. There are very few bike lanes in the city proper and those that exist in the bedroom communities are generally on residential streets, not the main roads. Combining that with ignorant drivers (and a few renegade riders) is a disaster waiting to happen. And it almost happened to ME!
A few weeks ago, I discovered a way to get to the greenbelt (you remember, the path where my hip broke) from my house by traveling mostly residential streets. I have to cross only two congested streets and a railroad track. Should be do-able, right? Especially on a quiet and breezy Saturday morning.
I made it to the middle of the first street (two miles from my house) before a van pulled in front of me. I had the green (of course), but I slowed to let it pass and then made eye contact with the driver of the other car waiting to turn and continued forward.
Yep, you guessed it. She turned right toward me and stepped on it. I slammed on my brakes (thank you, Shimano!) and stopped just in the nick of time. She never even slowed down.
Idiot! (That’s what I mouthed at her, but I don’t think it fazed her.)
Unfortunately, I got stopped, but my backpack didn’t, and the poor guy in the car behind me, waiting patiently for me to go so he could turn behind me, had to wait a little longer while I rescued my pack. That was embarrassing.
I’m sure everyone here knows how to share the road with cyclists, but just in case you’d like a refresher, check out this handy reference sheet to ensure you’re doing all you can to avoid squishing a bicycle and it’s rider. (There may be a quiz later.)
By the way, I’ve added a category to my Amazon store for bike accessories, most of which are safety features. Sure, it would be great if you shopped there, but to be honest, I’d rather see folks support their local bike shops!
In the end, all was well. Except for the headwind I encountered when I turned south to make the trip home, but I can’t blame the Idiot! for that. The total ride was less than I’d hoped (14 miles), but given the hills and the headwind, it was enough to earn me this minor splurge for lunch:
This was super tasty (after I let most of the honey drip out–will definitely ask for honey on the side for quantity control next time), and I do believe that was the best orange I’ve ever eaten.
And that is my public service announcement (complete with narrative drama) for the week!
Are cyclists safe in your area? Do pedestrians fare any better?
Remember to share the road!