My bike commute was about 85% complete this morning when a car starting barreling down on me.
I was sailing through a green light, carefree.
It’s a cliche to say out of nowhere but it felt like a car materialized from the ether. It started driving straight toward me.
The car was turning left while I was going straight. It was traveling at a high rate of speed. It was about to hit me from the side.
Time slowed down. Another cliche.
I hit my brakes.
My reaction was not anger, not fear. It was something unexpected.
I was incredulous.
Like, really? Who was this person? Why were they in such a hurry? Why was this car trying to kill me? What did I ever do to this car?!?
“DUDE!” I yelled.
And then — just like that — it was over.
The car stopped inches from me. I came to a stop in front of its bumper.
Then I went on my way. The car went on its way, with the driver yelling at me like it was my fault for legally biking through a green light.
My heart was racing and I noticed every detail around me with hyper awareness.
The doorman standing outside the nearby hotel stood out to me. Had he witnessed this? What would he say in a police report had the car not stopped in time?
Well, the man on the bike yelled “DUDE!” and then he was hit by the car.
Dude? Is that the best I can do in a seemingly life-and-death situation? Is my lizard brain some kind of bro?
It focuses your thoughts and priorities when you have a casual near death experience on a Wednesday morning while biking to work. So here are my two takeaways from surviving this encounter:
- DRIVERS: Please SLOW the %#(& down! Watch for cyclists. If you hit us, it’s pretty much game over. It’s a very vulnerable feeling to be completely exposed with a giant hunk of steel speeding toward you.
- Don’t judge me on my last words. Whatever words that pop into my brain as I depart this world — and thankfully they weren’t DUDE! — they probably won’t be very profound. Sorry, dude.