Dem’s da Brakes

Dem’s da Brakes

There is a chic set of apartments off the corner of Lake Ave and 17-92, shoppes on the bottom, clock tower on the top, so cute. I check the time when I make my left onto Lake on my bicycle commutes in the morning.

So I’m coming up 17-92 today and I’ve got one car (if a hulking Armada can be deemed a simple “car”) coming up in the far left lane. I could get across in front if it, over to my left turn, but I’m not sure where this person is going – no signals. Of course, as it goes by, its doing a casual drift to the left turn lane, its a woman driver, and she’s on her cell.

Bonus question – who are you having that engrossing conversation at 7:20am with? Most humans are coming out of their sleep cycle, waking to the new day. They are not yammering, “So she said that? Oh… my… God!”

So now I’ve got to cut a tight “S” to get around behind her in the left turn lane, noting her exhaust ports and getting as far away as I can from them. She looked back and see’s me (I should hope; I’ve got on more international orange than a lifeboat). A city bus comes up behind me and I figure I’ll have to pedal lively at the light change – there is a bus stop a short distance up and I don’t want to get pinned behind him if he passes me then stops for pickups.

Light changes, two cars go, and the Armada lumbers through its left. I’m holding fairly close, holding the lane in the turn and swinging wide to the right to clear it. I’m sweeping my vision along the parked cars along the street, checking for occupants who might swing a door, hearing the bus rumbling up behind. And that’s when the Armada driver made her right turn across my front wheel into the entrance of those trendy lifestyle-fitting apartments.

She did show a signal, that sort of signal you throw when you toss up the signal lever while spinning your wheel. Thanks. I really got that your liner of a vehicle was making a turn. I could see it crossing my front, its indicator an afterthought. Is that so you can stand over my crushed corpse and tell the police “But I signaled. OhMyGod, I’ve got to take this call.”

I think she suddenly remember that bike behind her and had lost track of me, back in her blind spot (between funnels 3 and 4, no doubt) because she went on her brakes, fully across my lane now. I had the bus behind me to my left; his brakes where howling. No going that way. And she’d cut her turn tight against the last parked car, so no room there. I laid on my brakes, my newly tuned, newly replaced, beautiful brakes. They clamped down and I left a patch of rubber on the road, my back end coming out and me riding it down, catching myself on a foot, all one smooth motion. We all stood there for a comical moment, then I gestured her to complete her turn and she did.

“Mary, you wouldn’t believe what just happened. Oh. My. God.”

The bus rumbled by me, pulling over to the right to pick up passengers. I got stuck. Oh well.

Drivers take note – signals thrown while already into the turn are a wasted effort. Don’t bother.