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It Happened Again

"We were both trying to occupy the same piece of real estate on the road at the same time."

I was on my way to work (It seems like I'm always on my way to work) when I approached some slower traffic in the right lane. As I was passing the second car, he suddenly changed lanes – right on top of me. Had I not caught his quick glance in his mirror and already been on my brakes hard, we would have both been trying to occupy the same piece of real estate. Now sharing an apartment with a friend is one thing, but this was no friend and the highway is not a good place to sleep. What do you do?

I could have laid on my horn, maybe flashed my lights, and perhaps saluted this blatant trespasser of my legal space on the road; making sure he understood the error of his ways. Maybe I could have changed lanes myself, sped up and let him know what I thought of his driving skills; after all, he's not the only one on the road. I could have fretted and fumed about what a stupid jerk this guy was; even venting to my riding friends at work about the idiots who share our roads.

In reality, this guy didn't try to run me over intentionally. That's not to say an unintentional run over is any less disastrous. He truly didn't see me. As I approached the slower moving cars, I had to expect someone to get impatient and want to move to the "clear" lane. I also realized that I was moving into this driver's blind spot as I was passing him. I know that people don't always watch their mirrors, like we do, as they drive, so I couldn't count on him having seen me approach.

When he made his decision to go around the slower vehicles in front of him, he did make a quick check of his mirror (OK, so it was while he was already moving left.) Because I was expecting it to happen, because I knew no one was directly behind me, and because I was able to use my brakes effectively, what could have been a very close call became a non-event.

One of the biggest, and most obvious, differences between the rest of the vehicles around us and us is our vulnerability. It's our responsibility to do everything we can to be seen by others. It's also our responsibility to realize that not everyone will see us. It's not that they're idiots (although we do see a lot of stupid moves out there) trying to take us out. They just get in a hurry and don't look for us.

Yes, we have our right to the road, but we also have the most to lose if there is a conflict. If that means giving up my right of way once in a while – Oh well! It may just mean I'll have to ride a little longer to get to where I'm going. And I'd rather enjoy my ride than try to educate all the other drivers while I'm riding.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!