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Person on bike doing the wrong thing

December 31, 2010

I almost saw a cyclist get hit today and it would have been completely his fault. If I had not intervened, he would be currently splattered all over Westheimer, to be picked up and made into sashimi in one of the Chinese restaurants that pervade that area.  Actually we should call him a person on a bike (POB), not a cyclist.  As I describe the situation, his brutal  mistakes will be in red. I will follow with explanations.

As I was stopped at a stop light, POB was riding down the sidewalk on the left-hand side of the road.  He was not looking for cars, was listening to music, and riding a mountain bike made for a small child or possible a midget.  He had no lights (it was still dark) AND WAS TEXTING.  The diagram below shows the POB’s direction of travel. On the sidewalk. Going the wrong direction.  Forgive me for doing this in paint.  The bottom-top-street is Westheimer (actually E-W)

The reason this situation is so Bejeezsus dangerous is that the car has no way of seeing the POB.  All drivers are looking in the opposite direction, except the occasional super paranoid one that thinks, “I better look up the street in the wrong direction, to make sure there are no confused Brits in Houston today!”  Drivers are trying to see if it is clear for them to turn right.  They assume no one is coming from up the street on their right side, which is a perfectly fair assumption to make.

I noticed the POB as I was judging him harshly from at least 50 yards away.  I also noticed the driver about to pull out, slightly annoyed that she had to look through a swath of lycra (me).  As the biker rode near and Westheimer was clear of traffic, I could sense the ensuing collision, not unlike crimes in the Minority Report.  Just as the driver was going to pull out, I yelled, ” BHWEWEAAHAHEEAHA!!!!”  Or something to that effect. The driver quickly slammed on the breaks, probably wondering if she ran over my foot, and then a look of suprise and understanding came over her face as the POB cruised inches from her front bumper.

Suprised as well, the POB smiled at me and said, “Thanks, man,” clearly not understanding the brevity of his possible personal injury debacle. As he went back to texting,  I replied, “You’re a F*$*#ing idiot.”  And he was.

Even though it seems counter-intuitive to most, this is a great reason why I always ride in the road and never on a sidewalk.  Drivers do not see people on the sidewalk, and more importantly, I can’t get good training in when I have to go over dips and crosswalks.  This also goes to show that I believe cyclists get a “bad rap” not because of my racing cohorts (although most are really bad about running stopsigns and red lights), but because of other people riding bikes.  I could be wrong though, who knows….

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