By Pico Triano
I cut through the crisp autumn air on my way to work. Just outside of Lunenburg, Ontario a compact sedan passed me. No big deal, I churn along at a pretty sedate pace. Even in a residential zone I'm unlikely to be challenging the speed limit. The car drifted across the yellow line marking the paved shoulder I was riding on. The driver corrected with a sudden jerk, started to skid and then lost control. The car sliding sideways crossed the centre line and disappeared into the brush growing on the other side of the road. After a dull whumpf there was silence.
A tractor trailer rig approached from the opposite direction. He got to the scene before I did. The car rested on its roof, a big clod of dirt and weeds hanging from one of the front tires. The truck driver knew what he was doing. Good thing to because I didn't. The young woman who was driving was unhurt but getting her out of the car was a challenge. The trucker retrieved a blanket from his truck and we laid it over the broken glass from the car's rear window so we could pull her out that way. Unhurt but more than a little shaken up.
Getting to play “hero” was an interesting enough experience but I could have easily been a casualty of that accident. What if she lost control before she passed me? There was no apparent reason for the accident at all. The pavement was quite new. It was dry and there was very little traffic. A bit scary when you think of all the people who break the law by using their cell phone while driving. Not sure whether she was distracted or not.
In another incident a friend of mine was riding on Dixie Road near Toronto, Ontario. We were cycling buddies but I had warned him that if he valued his life he would stay off Dixie. I rode it once and had several close calls before I arrived at my destination. Enough for me. I'll ride a little extra and take a lesser road.
Two cars collided with each other. After bouncing off each other, one of the cars hit him. His bike was good for the scrap pile and he was badly scraped and bruised. He was lucky, it could have been a lot worse. Incidentally he listened to me more after that.
When I ride, especially when there is a lot of traffic around, I try to be hyper alert. It is important to know what is going on around you. I recommend getting a mirror so you can see what is going on behind you. My preference for a mirror is one that attaches to your helmet or eye wear. It might be a challenge to focus on it but with time I got used to it. It's also incognito enough that motorists don't assume that you are watching their every move (and will get out of their way).
Accidents do happen, it pays to do everything you can to make sure you aren't a part of it even as collateral damage. Stay alert and choose your routes carefully.