"With great mass comes great responsibility." - C. Captain
I was almost at work. I came up Charleston on the far right side, a quiet part of the road although no bike lane. Traffic on the left gets on the 101 without pausing. Traffic on the right bears to the right and meanders past a Costco and then up to a traffic light.
I came around the corner and a car was driving up the wrong side of the street. It was almost on top of me and I only had time to scream, a deep rage of a scream at the indignity of being killed by a middle-aged woman in a shiny red car with license plate JPN151 who gaped stupidly at me but continued her course up the wrong side of the road. She was to my left and to my right there was only curb and no sidewalk. I didn't have time for anything anyways but I tried to get as far to the right as I could. She swerved away from me and we cleared each other and I was still alive. I stopped because I was too afraid to pedal at that moment and I saw her cross back over the double yellow line and stop at the stop sign. I wrote down her license plate. I noted that her car was a Ford but I couldn't figure the model.
I wonder if she was scared at how she had almost destroyed a harmless person riding their bike to work. For whatever reason she stayed at the stop sign for quite awhile although there was no cross traffic. I thought about riding to her but I did not. I didn't even have a curse. I watched her drive away and then continued on to work where I messaged my C. Captain and then called the Mountain View police.
My non-readers out there in non-reader land are maybe smug to think someone nearly cashed my check. Or maybe they are bicyclists who have been there also, who each day have to weigh the pleasure that bicycling brings them with the fear of having their tendons torn from their bodies.
I say to the people that rail about bicyclists who run red lights, who gloat when a bicyclist is killed, to these people I say: this driver on the wrong side of the road, her mouth slack, her eyes glazed, this driver is out there and may one day meet them on the highway at high speed as easily as she can meet me on my bicycle at the 16mph I was taking the turn.
I say to my non-readers in non-reader land that their silence will not protect them. Dangerous drivers hurt all of us. They hurt you in your car. They hurt me on my bike. They kill infants strapped into car seats. They destroy your inexperienced teenager.
If you are taking strong prescription medecine, if you have a drinking problem, stay at home. Call a cab. Call a friend. Never forget that your car is huge and heavy and full of dark possibility.