Week 42: Near-death experience

I am perhaps a bit too nonchalant with the phrase “I almost died.” I probably say it too much. But every time I do, it’s kind of true.

I run a lot, and I bike a lot. Doing those two things makes you very aware of one glaring truth: Drivers are blind. Clueless. Aloof. Not paying attention. Oblivious to their surroundings.

Drivers don’t look around their cars. They only look in the direction they’re going. They zoom out of parking garages and driveways without checking for oncoming (foot) traffic. They blow through yellow and red lights. They only check left before turning right, even if there’s a walk sign. It’s really amazing pedestrians aren’t dying every day on the streets of Los Angeles.

Several times a week, were I not actively looking around and checking all directions before crossing any driveway or street, I would be hit by a car while either running or biking. When I see cars oncoming or attempting to turn in my direction, I ask myself, “Is he gonna see me?” … “Is she gonna see me?” At least 65 percent of the time, the answer is no, and if I don’t stop for the car or do something to get the driver’s attention, I would soon be on my way to a hospital.

So yeah, I often say that I almost died, but actually, I mean I almost got into some sort of collision. Probably I would have a broken leg or some broken ribs. Maybe I’d need a few stitches and some recovery time.

The other day, though, I really, truly could’ve died. I almost got mowed down in the middle of Westwood Boulevard.

I was on my bike heading to yoga. I came upon an intersection and had a green light and walk sign. Off I go from one side of the street to the other. Meanwhile, a driver accelerates in my direction while turning left through the intersection. This woman was not driving slowly. She was in the middle of a four-way intersection. And she was looking down at her phone!

I see her. She does not see me. I slam on my brakes and almost fall off my bike in the middle of the street while waving my arms at this totally oblivious driver. Finally, she sees me, mouths “Oh, shit!” and drives around me. I collect myself, get my feet back on the pedals and carry on, albeit a bit shaken up.

At the next red light, I pull up next to this woman. She’s about my age. She rolls down her window to apologize. “I’m SO sorry. I’m really, really sorry.”

“It’s OK,” I tell her with my eyebrows raised. “But get off your phone.”

A few minutes later, I’ve made it to yoga in one piece. As I’m setting up my mat, the lady next to me says, “Oh! You’re the girl who just almost got hit by a car!”

Yep. That was me.

Endnotes:

Currently reading: Still A Week In Winter

Currently watching: I’ve picked up two new comedies: Grandfathered and Life In Pieces

Song of the week: Rozzi Crane’s “Psycho”

Plans for the weekend: My grandparents are coming to visit, and I’m running my first half-marathon, so I’ll be showing the g’rents around L.A. and taking them to Catalina Island, then running 13.1 miles and doing a lot of stretching.

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