Kristen convinced me to skip out of work early and meet her at Barton Springs. I'm glad I did. Austin in May is beautiful weather. I left work at ~3:30 once I realized that both Doug and Dan were out of town until friday.
Since my car is broken, I rode Gertie downtown and across the Congress bridge. I hopped on Barton Springs Road and headed toward Zilker. I was pretty proud of myself, doing ~27 mph on flat ground, almost keeping up with traffic. After passing Lamar, I hopped into the bike lane that goes towards Zilker. I drove down restaurant row, and had almost made it to zilker when I almost became a victim of the Right Hook
Luckily, I was able to slam on my brakes in time, yelling "WATCH OUT!!" I don't think she heard me, but I think I startled some college kids waiting out in front of a sno-cone stand. After recovering from the terror that is a fish-tail, I followed her into the parking lot and waited behind her car until she got out. I don't think it dawned on her until a couple of seconds, and then she realized I was the guy on the bike that was riding in the bike lane. At that point the conversation went something like this....
me (suprisingly calmly): You nearly killed me.
Girl Driving Car: Oh my god. I didn't see you
me: I know it's easy to do, but you've got to pay attention.
GDC: I usually pay close attention to bikers! (I think tears started welling up
me: Please be more careful next time.
All in all, it was a pretty anti-climactic confrontation. I can sympathise. Drivers aren't used to looking out for two-wheeled vehicles. I didn't want to chew her out for something she obviously didn't do on purpose, but I did want to let her know just how easy it is to let you mind wander and end up killing someone. Hopefully I didn't shake her up too much, but hopefully she'll be a little more wary in the future.
I guess it was a good wake-up call for me too... I'm always pretty vigilant out there. I assume cars can't see me, and so far, that's worked out pretty well for me. I guess riding in traffic requires a bit more vigilance. Even in a bike lane.
Still, biking is one of the safest sports/modes-of-transportation out there.
One statistic that jumps to my mind is this: For every 1 year your life is shortened through an accident, you gain 17 years on your life due the exercise improving your fitness level.
If you're a cyclist take this survey!