erik lundegaard

How I Nearly Died on the Way to Work Yesterday

SEATTLE — It was raining pretty hard for my morning bike ride yesterday morning, and I was soaked by the time I got close to work. I live in First Hill and the office is in lower Queen Anne, so I tend to weave through downtown, over to 1st Avenue North, take a left by Key Arena and then a right onto 1st Avenue West for half a block. At which point, halfway down the two-lane road, I take a left into a parking lot, which leads to the bike racks below our office building.

Biking in Seattle(Aside: Only in Seattle would you have, on either side of a major street, two 1st Avenues labeled “North” and “West,” even though they run parallel to each other. Shouldn't it be “North” and “South”? Or “East” and “West”?)

The turn onto 1st Avenue West is always a drag. It's a four-way stop, and there are almost always cars, generally impatient, heading up 1st Avenue West. I'm coming down a slight hill, then have to turn over a rough patch of road, and then go up a slight hill. More, I need to own the lane, rather than ride on the right-hand side of it, since I'm about to turn left into the parking lot. Doing this, I assume I'm pissing off cars behind me. I assume they're wondering, “Why is this asshole taking up the middle of our lane? Why isn't he off to the right so I can get past him?” By that point, hopefully, I've taken my left into the parking lot, they go, “Oh,” and all is good.

Yesterday morning, as I was about to make that final left, the car behind me—a pickup truck, it turned out, perpetuating my stereotype of pickup-truck drivers—gunned its engines and flew past me in the left lane, just as I was about to turn into that lane to get into the parking lot. If I wasn't paying attention, I would've been flattened.

I cursed a blue streak but the guy drove away. He was late, after all. He had important business, after all.

On the way home, I saw another pickup truck fly through a red light on Denny. Like five seconds after it had turned red. I think he just wasn't paying attention.

Anyway, another day. Still here.

This is the way I think I'll end
This is the way I think I'll end
This is the way I think I'll end
Not with a whimper but a splat

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Posted at 07:27 AM on Thu. Mar 21, 2013 in category Biking  


jack bradbury wrote:

I'm not in agreement on your stereotype of pickup truck drivers. If I ever own a home again, and all the attendant crap and growth, I'm gettin' me a pickup truck. With a gun rack..........kidding.....what would I put on there? Pool cue? No, I don't play much pool either. Fishing rod? I'm a crappy fisherman. Ask Alex.
anyhoo........sorry about the scare. Obvious jerk driver, no matter what kind of vehicle he's driving. Gotta say with the crappy visibility and rain, be careful. I'm always trying to be aware of pedestrians, bikers and motorcyclists, but it gets tough to see them sometimes.

Comment posted on Thu. Mar 21, 2013 at 07:58 AM

Erik wrote:

Oh, he saw me. That's why he gunned past me. And by this point the visibility wasn't bad. In fact, a half hour later, we had blue skies and bright sun. Way of the world.

Comment posted on Thu. Mar 21, 2013 at 08:13 AM

Bill Harrison wrote:

I'm guessing the issue isn't whether he saw you or not. It's a values issue — bike riders don't have any right to get in the way and impede legitimate drivers on roads "meant for cars (and pickups.) If he can scare you off the road, he wins. Glad you're OK. I'm generally a little nervous knowing that Tim is out on those streets on his bike from time to time.

Comment posted on Thu. Mar 21, 2013 at 08:29 AM

Erik wrote:

I've been biking these streets for 20 years. It's not unsafe. You just have to pay attention for the assholes--same as driving a car.

Comment posted on Thu. Mar 21, 2013 at 08:33 AM
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