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I almost died this morning.

I was riding to work the same way I do every day.

As I headed along Sakurada-dori to my office, a truck driver in the oncoming lane decided to ignore his red light and make a right-hand turn across my lane onto a side street.

This was not a case of trying to "beat the light"; it was red for him before he even started his turn.

I managed to avoid locking up the rear wheel and came to a stop about 1 foot away from slamming head-on into the side of his truck.

He continued onto the side street as if nothing had happened. Angry at almost having been killed, I followed and honked until he pulled over. I asked him what his problem was in the harshest Japanese I know, which is not all that harsh, so I threw in some New York English for good measure.

In response, he gave me the standard shrugged-shoulders, sheepish "sumimasen" look.

I rode off -- what else was there to do?

As a biker, I try to be prepared to react to the mistakes of other drivers. But why do they have to make such big ones?


Anonymous said...

I know the look. The whole "Wow, that guy's really overreacting"-type shrugging half-apology. Surrounded in their cages, they just don't get that it's a matter of life and death for us.
I even once had a guy ready to fight me for using impolite language at him after he nearly killed me, only to back down when I stood up and he saw that I was twice his size.

I think that in general, drivers here are more aware and more considerate of bikers than in the States, but the exceptions can be truly exceptional

Posted by Big Ben

Anonymous said...

really motorcycles are cool but they scare me. You can be the perfect safe and skilled driver and some idiot will kill you. My heart goes out to you buddy. I'm not a wimp, but I would never own one. I've seen three motor cycle accidents, in my life, actually saw two as they happened, didn't hurt the cars at all but fuck up the riders bad. I say don't use it to commute, just use on the weekend, for pleasure. but you got to do what you got to do. since i like coming here to read and debate I'd prefer you'd retire the bike from commutes, this guarentees one of my favorite web sites being around longer.  

Posted by fasteddie

Anonymous said...

Well, the lesson I learned is that you can never feel 100% comfortable about opening up the throttle as long as there is at least one other vehicle on the road that could POTENTIALLY do something stupid and hit you. 

Posted by GaijinBiker

Anonymous said...

My older brother has had two major accidents here in Chicago, and it is only his skills as a former racer that have saved him from crippling injury or death. Each time it was a driver who is too busy looking out for something as wide as a car to notice the other vehicles on the road.

My father bought to motorcycles in the last couple of years: a Beemer touring model and a Harley Sportster (IIRC). A part of me really wants to learn to ride the Harley, but I am afraid. I am afraid of whether or not I could aquire the skills necessary to compensate for the dunderheads on four wheels. That and I work at a hospital with a Level 1 trauma center. Some of the worst things I have seen involve motorcyclists injured by drivers who weren't paying attention. So far, I haven't been able to get over my fear of being one of those people. 

Posted by Sharon

Anonymous said...

Oops! Two (2), not "to". PIMF. 

Posted by Sharon



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