Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Near miss with a motorcycle

"Dear Momentum Magazine: I never thought it would happen to me . . . "

In something like ten years of riding, I don't think I've ever really had one of these. An all-out confrontation with someone else who did something incredibly dangerous. And, improbably, I actually had my GoPro running. It was a classic "YouTube bike moment."

Here's the setup: I was on my way to the office and taking my Cycle In route in order to get it on camera (I missed filming it on the actual day), which meant I had to take the construction detour from Main Street over to Echo Drive. The signed detour route takes you along Mutchmor, a wide, very quiet residential street. Detached houses with good-sized lawns, a school zone. Super quiet.

As you can see below, there's a Y intersection at the west end: bikes stay left, and in a block you're on Echo and can turn right and head for the new, lovely, bike-signal intersection to get you across Colonel By Drive and onto the Rideau Canal path.

I have never once conflicted with another vehicle on Mutchmor. I don't think I've even encountered anything but bikes.

Until this.

I sort of wish I'd thought to walk up to him, because shouting across a huge intersection did nothing but disturb the neighbours. Once you're yelling, you can't talk sense to anyone. He wasn't listening anyway, he just wanted to yell at me that it was my fault. (Because he was going under the speed limit. Still working on the logic behind that one.)

If I give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he assumed I was going right (though you can see the detour signs in the video, directing bikes left). I didn't signal: but that's because I didn't hear him coming and had no idea he was even there until suddenly he was in front of me. And did I mention it was a super quiet street?

Or maybe he pulled this dumbass move and realized a fraction of a second later how stupid it was - and that if he'd hit me he would have taken himself out too. Then, out of defensiveness and adrenaline, he decided to blame me and scream that it was all my fault. At the time, I thought maybe I had been way out in the road - but looking at the video, I wasn't really. I had just started through the intersection on the way to the left-hand street.

A friend who rides motorcycles said that an inexperienced rider can't brake quickly without spilling, so maybe that's why he cut me off rather than turning behind me. But if he was going "20 km/h under the speed limit" like he claims, I'd think even a novice would have had time to see me, slow down, and go through the intersection behind me.

I'll try and go through the video later and see if I can pull anything else to ID the guy, and I've reported the incident, but it's not like I expect the police to do anything.


  1. I think that you should have signalled a left turn.

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  3. I guess near-misses are still good news, because no one got hurt. But I do hope something can be done about this before more we hear of more accidents.