I am still trying to figure out why I am so impacted by the close call I had last night. I’ve had plenty of close calls before on my bicycle in SF riding around. But there was something about this one that just impacted me in such a way that I have yet to fully recover. As I sit on my flight to Vegas I am starting to reflect on it and came up with three thoughts that may have contributed to it.
1: I’ve been learning to ride a motorcycle. I think this has a good chunk of the impact since I seem to be more aware of my body position, posture, and overall connection between everything. One of the things I noticed on Monday was that I started to tilt when I turned my head. Maybe this is something I always did, and if so I am just more aware of it. I also broke bad cycling habits and started keeping my head up more instead of looking right in front of my front wheel, started to not cover the brakes, and even use the same head movements you would on a motorcycle.
With all of that combined, I think that helped me avoid running into a curb at 17mph after swerving. But more so – I think I have a much different awareness of risks and actions I can take to mitigate them.
2: I had an eighteen month hiatus from bike commuting in SF. With the office in Cupertino, when I biked into the office, my route was on Highway 35. There isn’t much contention around cyclists and cars except for the Highway 1 intersection. But one of the first things I noticed with the new commute is that SF, and all of SF, seems to be more congested during rush hour than it was when I quit my last job. It seems like nearly every other car is a Lyft or Uber and everyone is impatient on the roads.
I really think that there is just more stress between all commuters in SF
3: I witnessed someone get doored on Monday evening. Was approaching Market and Van Ness in the evening and there was a taxi stopped in the bike lane. Someone with ample lights went to pass on the left and the door just opened on him. This just reinforces my vulnerability when out on two wheels.