Oopsie… near death (x2)
This morning I rode the Boris Bikes from Waterloo to my office, near London Bridge. We’ve used the bikes casually before, usually on quiet weekends, and had a fantastic time. So my decision to ride this morning wasn’t completely without experience, although I’m not sure how frequently I’ll be repeating it. You see, I saw someone nearly get killed, AND I nearly killed someone. That is two very close brushes with death, all before 9 am. While biking might be good for my health, I think it will be very bad for my stress levels!
The first occurrence happened as I was waiting to cross the street. Very cautiously, I had gotten off the bike and was walking it across traffic. Another cyclist comes up behind me, and cuts across the waiting traffic coming from the right (remember we’re in the UK so everything is backward). While he’s looking left for traffic coming the other way, he doesn’t see the motorcyclist coming from the right, who is going around the waiting traffic. The motocyclist basically ran over the cyclist, who went flying off his bike and skidding across the pavement. Then the motorcyclist took off! The cyclist was fine (and braver than I) and just picked up his bike and continued on. At this point I’d been on my Boris Bike for about 90 seconds.
I bravely continued on my way. If you’re familiar at all with the neighborhood, I decided to go down The Cut instead of Southwark St., as it’s a bit quieter.
As I neared the office I decided to go down Redcross Way, a quiet side street, rather than negotiate Borough High Street. As I turned the corner, I saw a woman in a parked car (car facing toward me) open her door. I saw this in plenty of time and moved a few feet into the center of the road to give space. But what I didn’t see was the back door of the same car open, and a small child pop out. Small child then immediately runs into the middle of the road, which was – coincidentally – right underneath the tyres of my bicycle. I swear it was a matter of 2 or 3 inches of me mowing that child down – and it would have been quite bad! Luckily I stopped in time. The worst part was that before I could even say anything, the mother accosts me and says “Well don’t yell at ‘im, you’re going the wrong way down a one way street!” Just forget about the fact that her child ran out into the middle of traffic! Yes, I admit I was in the wrong, and technically it would have completely been my fault, but since when is it okay for kids to exit the vehicle on the traffic side?!
I returned my bike and walked to the office. This was definitely the most exciting morning I’ve had in a long time. And my heart was pounding, but I don’t know if it was from the bike-riding or the near-deathing. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to keep trying the Boris Bike … we’ll have to see.