With the glorious return of Spring and the rise in temperatures (although it still is quite chilly in the morning commute!), I bring you some observations from my winter commuting experience in the form of a top 6 list of people/drivers/vehicles/stereotypes that are most likely to hit me. These are in order of furthest away from me as they go around me to the closest brush encounters:
#6 – School Buses
Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t terrible, but they have to make the list. For some reason these buses feel it necessary to speed around you wide, but cut back as quickly as possible, almost forgetting that the bus extends beyond the 3rd row of students.If the bus is empty? Even worse!
#5 – Men in older model Mini-Vans
I don’t know what it is, but this is a crazy phenomenon that I have witnessed countless times over the winter, and so far it holds true in the spring as well. Women in mini-vans steer well clear and give plenty of room, doesn’t matter if the model is new or old. They seem to have respect. Toss a dude in that same seat and they turn into some sort of bitter crank-pot who is angry they have to drive said mini-van I suppose and therefore feel it necessary to take out their aggression on us poor cyclists by shading ever closer to the side we are on.
#4 – City Buses
I think every cyclist out there would agree that it is very dependent on the driver of each City transit behemouth whether or not you are going to feel death coming on. Let me share with you a recent experience. I was riding along University towards the east. I decided to go around a bus that was picking up passengers at a stop. Nothing wrong with that, except apparently this curmudgeonly old cout who was driving decided that he would teach me a lesson for messin’ with him. At the next stop light, I am the first vehicle in line but pulled well off to the curb, the bus pulls in behind me, very close I might add. As the green light comes on, I floor it but remain close to the curb knowing the bus will pass. Instead, he continues to stalk me until finally he goes around, quite tightly. I know this bus route so I know at the next road he will be turning right, and I back off to ensure i don’t have to stop behind him as he does so. Well, doesn’t this old guy decide to turn the corner as slow as possible, and not only that, stop (stop!!) as he turns. No other cars are around, so this is clearly done knowing I am behind him and he is trying to annoy me (which works!). Anyway, I know the route so I know he will catch me much further down as he comes back to University near Bridge. Sure enough, just as I reach the intersection he comes up to turn left. I stare back at him but he won’t even look in my direction, clearly avoiding me (I’m obvious in my stare at him and my bright green jacket, he knows me!!). Gah. So that is my story. I went home, ranted and now I am ranting again. This isn’t the only reason they are on the list, but this is a good one. I admit, this might be a bit fresh.
#3 – Oversized Trucks
See”Monster Truck” post, but imagine it moving. Anything with big tires and a big ego along with it are clear winners in the “i’m bigger than you and I can squish you so get outta my way” race. Clearly I, the cycle-commuter, am a much less superior being than you who drives a gigantic, penis enhancing nuclear weapon of a truck. Kudos to you on coming ever so close. But like your life, you are still only 3rd best (or worst).
#2 – Lowend mid-sized vehicles
I’m not sure why, but this is a crazy phenomenon. I think it might have to do with the age of the drivers of these cars. Typically this is an older model Grand-Prix, Ford Taurus or Chevy Cavalier driven by a 20-30ish aged person, usually females drive closer than males from my observation. It could be that the car is just so junky they figure that if they hit something they can just bang out the dent my head makes without much issue or they can just dump the car and get a new one for a cheap price.
#1 – Cabbies
Without question, the WORST for coming close, for speeding by and for just plain being annoying. Do these guys drive all day and not actually look in their mirrors? Are they so sleep deprived that they cannot see me and my 2 red flashing lights and reflective jacket? I have had more close calls with these jerks than any of the above combined. It doesn’t matter nationality, race, or colour, if you drive a cab you are apparently just a douche. I think I’ll wear a yellow jacket with a lighted dome on my head so they think I am one of them.
Some honorable mentions:
Dump Trucks and Cement Trucks: Not consistent, but can be too close if it is late in the day and they are probably on overtime.
Late Model SUV’s: Probably a penis thing again.
Pickup Trucks: Has to be a specific type of driver. Usually older with grey hair. I’m just sayin’.
Coming Soon: Review of my new Scott Sub 35!!