This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Close calls

I almost got hit by a moving van on my ride this morning. It was a close call. I've experienced several since I started to ride regularly seven years ago.

Once, a guy nearly sideswiped me as he turned a corner. He hadn't bothered to look my way. He'd just started to pull out onto my road. I was headed straight, so it was my right-of-way. Plus, I was in the bike lane, exactly where I was supposed to be. If I hadn't been paying attention...

And yesterday, it was a similar set of circumstances. I was riding on the main road in my neighborhood when a van behind me passed me to pull into a side street on our right. But then, as soon as he turned, he immediately started backing out without warning, without stopping to see what might be coming up behind him. With a car coming up from behind me, I knew I had no place to go without getting hit by either the car or the van, and I had no time to stop. If I hadn't been paying attention, if the car behind me hadn't been just far enough behind me to swerve in front of, and if he hadn't been paying enough attention to see what was ahead of him...I would have been hit. Goodness knows why the driver in the van started backing up without waiting for me to pass. He'd just seen me and knew I was there, for goodness sakes. But that kind of thing happens. A lot.

It's really up to me to be aware of what's in front of me, off to the sides, and behind. I need to know what's going on all around me, so I can be prepared to act in a moment's notice. Truthfully, I really doubt the plastic helmet on my head is going to save my life should I get hit by a moving vehicle while I'm riding my bike. It's not a body shield made of armour. But I wear it for the same reason I pay attention--to do what I can to save myself from harm while on the road.

My sister (pictured, left, above with me on the right) just experienced a close call of her own yesterday morning. She was driving to work in a town that is forested, and as she was getting ready to drive onto a freeway, a deer jumped at her car and wound up going straight through her windshield, landing in her lap. When she told me what happened, that blood was everywhere, I wondered how she could know she wasn't injured. But she knew. She knew it was the deer who had caused all that bloodshed. And it was the deer who lost its life. She was saved. Somehow, the deer didn't do her any harm. He didn't even try to get up, she said.

Her car was totaled in this accident. And when the police arrived, they had to shoot the deer to put the poor animal out of its misery.

In my sister's case, the deer arrived so suddenly, it wouldn't have mattered how well she was paying attention. This kind of close call is not so much about being aware, it's about being lucky.

Or is it?

Some people might say it wasn't her time to go, or, she was in the wrong place at the right time, or some other cliche to explain why she's still alive after an accident that one would think would have, at the very least, left her seriously injured. She did receive a cut on her finger, she said, from a piece of glass. But that's it. She was virtually unharmed, though very shaken, by the whole ordeal.

Maybe she is lucky, or maybe it wasn't her time to go. But she's feeling very happy to be alive today.

What kind of close call have you experienced in your life? Has it made you stop and think, or reexamine your life up to that moment?

If you were to reflect on your close calls, your turning points, your reawakenings, what lessons would you say you've taken away from them? And if you have received lessons, how do you continue to use those lessons in your life today?

Journaling your thoughts down on paper might bring additional enlightenment. If you meditate on your responses, you might also learn something new about yourself.

Today, let the close calls in your life become life-long lessons.

All my best,



Dennis Dalton said...

Good article bikelady. A nice guy in our cycling club was killed last summer. He was just riding down a hill on the way to our Tuesday night ride, he didn't make the turn at the bottom, hit the curb, went over his bars and hit his head directly into a large ornamental bolder on someone'e front lawn; and that was it, he was dead. His helmet didn'r save him. No one's fault: it just happened.

The BIKE Lady said...


That's a sad story. I'm sorry to hear it. Not that you want these things to stop you from riding, and it's not like you can control all things around you. But you do want to take charge of what you can. At the very least, I hope you're riding safely...and that you're getting more out of your rides than you expected.

Thanks for stopping in at BIKE WITH JACKIE. Come back and share your lessons or stories with us again when you get the chance.

All my best,