I learned a good lesson today. One that I knew about already, but was apparently not putting into practice. Don’t ride too close to parked cars. (Mom and Dad, don’t worry — I’m okay and didn’t crash). I had just left the house to enjoy a nice ride through the neighborhood and while I was soaking up the sunshine and the 75 degree temperature, I rode next to several parked cars. The driver in one of the cars threw open her door by pushing it wide open with her foot. I knew there was no traffic behind me, and I had just enough time to grab the brakes and move over slightly without actually having to swerve in a panic. Still, it was enough to scare the crap out of me and put me slightly on edge for the rest of my ride.
I make a point to stay focused when I ride. I don’t like to ride when I’m distracted and I never listen to my iPod while I ride unless I’m at home on the trainer. There are enough things such as road debris, traffic, red lights, pedestrians, the ocassional dog or squirrel and other things to pay attention to, so I try to always be aware of my surroundings during a ride. When riding in traffic (especially when there’s no bike lane), I take the lane. According to a safety class I took a couple years ago, taking the lane makes you most visible to vehicles and helps cut down on the opportunities the driver has to squeeze you over into the shoulder.
The question I took away from the close-call was this: if I had collided with the woman’s car door, which one of us would have been at fault? I assume it would have been me (for riding too close). Or would it have been her for not checking her mirror before opening her door? According to an article on bicycle.net, it sounds like the driver would be at fault. Either way, I learned my lesson today and will give parked cars more room from now on. And we can all learn the lesson to check your side mirror before opening your car door.
Today’s food journal:
— Builder Bar = 5 points
— 2 Weight Watchers chicken mini-wraps = 4 points
— LF organic chocolate milk = 3 points
— Grilled chicken sandwich = 4.5 points
— 1 cup potato salad = 4 points
— iced tea = 0
— Frozen fruit bar = 1 point
Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!
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