I regretted not biking to work yesterday, when the threatened rain never quite made it over the coastal hills. Given that the roads were wet this morning, I opted to ride the commuter shuttle instead of making a mess of the commute bike. With a 50% chance of evening rain, I took a chance and chose the Strida over striding to the bus stop.
I lost the bet. [Ah, well. Once you're wet, you're wet.] It's only 1.6 miles.
I could shave the trip to 1.2 miles, but that requires biking on a busy local thoroughfare: mostly two lanes in each direction, separated by a median. The problem with that route are all the distractions. My bike is well-lit, but I'm a small fish swimming in a sea of bright lights: signs for businesses, traffic signals, pedestrian signals, street lights, vehicle lights.
The longer route is safer: it passes mostly through residential neighborhoods. In the darkness, I stand out: reflectors on wheels, pedals, and rear rack, reflective sidewalls on my tires, a reflective stripe down the front of the bike, reflective stripes on my messenger bag. Of course, none of that counts until some light source bounces back. So, I have a blinking white light on my handlebar. Two more blazing lights will encourage you to avert your gaze: a blinking red taillight (35 lumens) mounted on the rear rack, and a powerful headlight mounted on my helmet. Motorists give me a lot of space, at night. If they see me.
I watched the car heading through the church's parking lot, toward the exit. In self-defense, I slowed my pace and focused. I was the only moving thing on the street. In the bike lane.
She's not looking.
She's not looking.
She's not going to stop.
This is how cyclists die.
The driver pulled out directly across my path, making a left turn while staring exclusively to her right. She didn't even glance to her left until she was into the street, shocked [I can only imagine] by 400 lumens in her face. At close range.
Disc brakes, in the rain, for the win. They stopped the bike.
After I took a deep breath and resumed pedaling, I heard:
I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.
I'm sorry, too. I'm sorry that the State of California saw fit to award you a driver's license.