Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Encounter with a Motorist

I had a surprising experience this past Saturday on my way to the Velo Cape Breton Season Opening Banquet.

I was heading north on Keltic Drive approaching the train trestle just before the bridge. For those who don't know the area, as you pass the lights at the entrance to the Cape Breton Shopping Plaza, the road "pinches" down from three lanes to one just prior to the trestle. To prevent motorists from trying to squeeze past me, I generally "take the lane" here. There simply isn't room to share once you're under that trestle.

Anyway, as I pass under the trestle, a pickup truck brushes by me within centimeters of my elbow. Startled and incensed, I yell out, "Hey!"

He heard me...

Just beyond the trestle is a wide gravel shoulder. He pulls over, looking back at me as I approach. Now I evaluate my options. There are no buildings there whatsoever. There are no people around save the cars passing. I figure getting into a confrontation with this guy there, where there is no possibility of help should I get into trouble, would be unwise. So, I stand out of my saddle and sprint past him, hoping that would be the end of it.

After getting past the bridge and preparing to make my turn onto Westmount Road, I look back and, to my astonishment, the guy is still there, following me. I'm a pretty fast cyclist, but not that fast, particularly since that whole route going north is uphill. There was no way this guy would still be behind me if he wasn't deliberately following me...

Getting nervous now, I make my turn onto Westmount and, sure enough, the guy makes the same turn right behind me. I look around again. This time, I'm in an area where there are several houses and there's a couple of people getting out of a car in front of a house. Good. I've got help if I need it, and I'd rather pull over and confront this guy face to face than confront him while he's still behind the wheel of 5000 kilograms of steel...

So, I pull over. He passes me and pulls over about 20 meters ahead. He gets out of his truck and heads right for me. OK, so I wasn't imagining things. He was following me. I tense as he approaches, ready to defend myself in case this gets ugly...

He walks up to me and says: "Sorry about that, bud. I thought you were going to stay in the other lane."

Whoa. Hold on. Back up. Rewind...

This guy went to all that trouble, pacing me, following me for a good minute only to pull over and apologize...?


I was so impressed with this guy that I stepped out of my saddle and reached out to shake his hand. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. That was, bar none, the classiest interaction I've ever had with a fellow road user, cyclist or motorist.

Velo Cape Breton's educational efforts appear to be paying off. Motorists are finally starting to understand: cyclists are vehicle operators with the same rights as any other road user.

I only wish I had had time to find out who that guy was. He deserves to be recognized for his courtesy.

On May 8, 2007 8:32:06 PM ADT, autumn wrote:
[I]t appears nobody reads your blog but me.
No, lots of people a reading it. It's just that a vast majority of them are commenting to me privately rather than posting comments to the blog itself.
I never see a comment.Why do you think that is happening?
Actually, there have been several comments lately. It's just that they've all been from the troll.

As I said in my earlier post Facing Anger, I was only publishing his comments in the first place because I found him entertaining. The more proverbial rope I gave him, the more tangled up he got until, finally, he hung himself, just as I knew he would. Once that happened, his postings were no longer entertaining. They're just more of the same crap over and over again, anyway, so I see no point in posting them anymore.

Most of my friends weren't comfortable posting comments to the blog, anyway. I encouraged them to, but most people seem to prefer to give me advice face to face or in private E-mail rather than by commenting to the blog. The average personal blog doesn't tend to get many comments, anyway. Even Riin's blog only gets occasional comments under normal circumstances, and she's a much more popular online personality than I.

Those few that were commenting here probably stopped because they were tired of reading about my troubles with Riin. That's not surprising. Even I am talked out about the subject at this point. I've pretty much said everything I needed to say. Actually, writing it all down in the blog here helped me sort out a lot. I feel much better now, and I have a much clearer picture of what I feel, and why. Now, I only talk about her in public when she comes up in context.

I haven't given up on Riin. It's simply that anything I do have left to say, I will only say to her. Not here.

Hopefully, some day I'll have that chance. Until then, I've said all I have to say about it.

That doesn't mean that I'm not going to post here anymore, mind you. One good thing that came out of the Riin mess is I finally get the value of a blog. So I'll probably be posting here a lot more often on a variety of different subjects, much like the very story you commented on here. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:32 PM

    John it appears nobody reads your blog but me. I never see a comment.Why do you think that is happening?


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