Scoot Commute

The closest I’ve ever come to getting hit

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2011/04/04

was tonight. So yeah, I’m a bit shaken up. The good thing is I was headed out with some friends for a drink, dinner and good conversation which had the added bonus of not giving me time to think about what had happened on my ride over to the pub.

After conferring on a route, I agreed to follow the person from school who was also going to the dinner. We both knew how to get to the place but this being Providence, there were about four different ways to get there.

I was headed down Pleasant Valley Parkway, following along at a reasonable distance. At one of the lights, a tractor trailer pulls a right onto Pleasant Valley and continues along straight in the left lane (this is a two-lane street in both directions with a divider in the center). Normally we would have kept to the left lane as we would eventually be making a left, but the truck was slow and lumbering, and I think my friend was trying to figure out if the driver would eventually be swinging into the right lane to get on the highway.

At an opportune time, she swung over into the right lane to pass the tractor trailer. I did a head-check and followed along behind. Coming up is a double set of traffic lights that are timed together. Both sets turn yellow; she goes through the first light and then the second. I go through the first yellow and know I’m not going to make the second light and apply my brakes.

Because of my complete paranoia about being hit from behind, I do a quick check in one of my mirrors. The light is red but the car behind me assumed that I would blow through it as he was going to blow through it. I look up and the cars haven’t yet moved into the intersection. I pick up my feet and give the throttle some gas, rolling into the middle of the intersection. I can hear the screech of brakes and I turn my head to confirm the car has, indeed, come to a stop as I put my feet down and push the scoot backwards out of the intersection. I can smell the burning rubber from the tires.

I’m so freaked out I don’t even turn to yell or give a WTF arm flap, nothing. I can see the face of the driver in the car in the left lane and he looks like he’s seen a ghost. The adrenaline is rushing through my body and I really can’t wait for the light to turn green so I can get off this stretch of street.

Light turns green and I’m out in front quickly, indicating and changing back into the left lane. I need to make a left turn at the next light, so I put on my indicator and thrust out my left arm. Miraculously I get the arrow (I never get the arrow!) and there’s my buddy pulled over waiting for me to catch up. She missed all the drama.

We get pretty close to rockstar parking downtown. I park in front of her and she walks up as I’m taking off my gloves and helmet. I’m really not all there yet. I said, “You missed all that, didn’t you?”

After we sit down at a high-top, I ask for Strongbow on tap, which they don’t have; they only have nasty Woodchuck on draught or Magners in bottles. “I’ll have a Guinness.” One pint + one burger with bleu cheese and rashers later, I headed back home. What a relief it was pulling up to the garage.

My biggest accident fear: someone turning left.
My second biggest accident fear: getting hit from behind at a stop sign or light

Now I don’t ride around gripped by fear. But when it comes that close, it shakes me up a bit. I’ll still ride tomorrow. I can’t give up my brilliant parking spot on campus.


3 Responses

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  1. Keith said, on 2011/04/04 at 8:43 pm

    Glad you were able to write about this after the Pub and parking in the garage and not from hospital.

    I don’t know which accident I fear most of the two you mentioned. I know I’ve taken to looking more in my mirrors and giving myself lots of room behind the car in front of me when I stop.

    Yesterday, I got peeped at for stopping at a stop sign. It is disturbing how “optional” traffic rules have become.

    I love your blog and read each post. Sorry I don’t comment more often, but I’m here.

  2. Pepper said, on 2011/04/07 at 12:48 am

    It is dangerous out there in any vehicle and you are so vulnerable on your scooter. I am so please that Matthew has some metal around him as he makes his way on the roads. Please, be careful.

  3. sbahn said, on 2011/04/07 at 10:50 am

    Pep, I’m always careful which is why, I think, I haven’t had anything bad happen yet. And don’t let the metal box around Matthew fool you…it’s all in the driving, not the vehicle.

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