bump and grind? no thanks.

i believe this morning ties for first place in the category of “closest i’ve come to getting injured while on my bike”.
i was driving down bissonnet between beltway 8 and 59, near 8 but headed toward 59. the speed limit is probably 35, and i was likely doing 10 to 15 mph above that (which, in houston, means i was going 5 to 10 mph faster than everyone else). the street is three lanes each way there; i was in the far right lane. a car was a little behind me in the middle lane and doing about the same speed as me. a pickup (blue ford ranger) was probably around 50 yards in front of me in my lane, and another pickup (green full-size chevy extended cab) was in the left lane about even with the ranger. the middle lane was empty ahead of me. the pickup in front of me put on its blinker to turn right into a single-width driveway, and was slowing down a lot in the process, so after making sure the car behind me was far enough back i started to move into the open center lane. i also noticed that the pickup in the far left lane was slowing a lot, i assumed to make a u-turn or turn left (it was near an intersection with a light where a lot of people turn left). as i switched into the center lane, suddenly the green pickup made a right — from the left lane — across all three lanes of traffic — into the same single-width driveway. of course, the ranger was still in/near the ramp — plus they probably didn’t want to take their truck across a bump, G-d forbid — so the green pickup had to slow down…and came to a stop, occupying parts of all three lanes. i slammed on my rear brakes while trying to steer to the left to go around the back of the pickup, and i went into a slide for probably at least 20 or 30 feet. fortunately no one was coming up in the left lane, because i slid at an angle and came within a foot or two of the back of the pickup as i shot into the left lane. i probably would have hit him at around 15 to 20 or so miles — not horrible, but definitely enough to cause some (possibly serious) damage to the bike and myself. (then there’s always the possibility of me hitting my head on something, or a vehicle coming from behind and hitting me.) if i had stayed in the right lane behind the ranger, the pickup would have pulled right in front of me and i would have smashed full into the side of him (if he didn’t drive into me).
obviously sharing the road with some of the swift of mind and fleet of foot toodling obliviously around in cages can be a dangerous proposition for those of us who choose to ride free. so how was your commute?

5 comments on “bump and grind? no thanks.”

    Your mother loves so much reading exciting things like this!!! Also wear your helmet!

  2. Glad that you are intact! This is probably the reason that I should never get a motorcycle myself. I doubt that I could have reacted as well.

  3. i like to think i have pretty good reflexes, but i’ve seen too many people fantasize about what they’d do in a quick-reaction moment when what they’d most likely do is stand there and look dumb like everyone else. so i’m not sure it was any talent or quick thinking on my part that kept me and my bike in one piece, as much as being somewhat aware of my surroundings and luck.
    i rarely if ever wear my helmet. i live life on the edge. i’m an adrenaline junkie! isn’t it obvious? 😉

  4. Sounds kind of like a day @ the office for me. Just substitute the 2 pickups for a couple of empty taxi cabs trying to get to the same person flagging them down, then add a bus and a bicycle to the mix.
    I’m loving being back on a motorcycle again, after 7 or 8 years.

  5. i don’t have those kinds of situations happen very often, so you’re more than welcome to keep your days at the office 🙂 – i prefer a more open road and fewer chances for injury caused by surprise attacks.
    i don’t think i’ve ever been on a scooter proper, although my first motorized two-wheel vehicle was a 75cc or 80cc 70’s honda trail bike i got used in the very early 80’s. that’s somewhat like a scooter, but bulkier and more off-roadish. after a year or two i sold it and graduated to a yamaha enduro 100.
    i saw your entry about getting a guzzi. i never saw a pic with a person near it, so i was having a hard time getting an idea of the size of the bike. does having a full-size motorcycle (i’m assuming it is) make delivery in urban areas more difficult as far as manuveuring and parking and such?

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