Friday, 16 November 2007

Near-Death Experience #43

I had to wait until today to write this as I was a little shaken up last night.

I have had a bunch of near-death experiences on the Vespa over the past year or so but 43 is just a guess - I don’t actually keep track of them. Usually, my near-death experiences involve circumstances out of my control - a bus pulling out into traffic, a car passing on the right, somebody turning in front of me - but my latest was a bit different...

It was an ordinary day at school. The kids were actually really good yesterday and I had an enjoyable day in the classroom. Unfortunately I spent a bunch of time in what I call ‘the pit” which is the communication closet where our servers are located. We were having problems with one of our servers and I had to figure out what was wrong.

After a satisfying teaching day and a not-too-horrid staff meeting after school, I happily hopped onto my scooter and headed for home.

The road I ride down on the way home, whether by bike or scooter, is a winding, steepish downhill road. I’ve gone down it probably a hundred times on my scooter and a thousand on my bike.

Last night, it was dark, and a bit rainy. Now, I don’t mind riding in the rain at all, especially on busy streets, but this street is dark, so it’s a little harder to see.

As I rode into an especially curvy section, a car approached going to other way. Because of the combination of his bright lights, the wet conditions, and my visor, I ended drifting to the right. I was also going a wee bit fast for the conditions I was in. By the time the car went past, I realized I was mere centimetres/inches from the edge of the road and a muddy, slippery fall.

In a flash, I went from safe, careful driving, to almost wiping out myself, and more importantly, my scratch-free Vespa.

Happily, I quickly regained the middle of the road and arrived home, imbibing a quick glass of red wine to settle my nerves.

And that’s the latest near-death experience. I know there’ll be more but, I console myself with the fact that, the more I ride, hopefully, the less they'll happen.


Steve Williams said...

Your post title was unsettling and I know what it means. I've been fortunate and not had nearly as many experiences as you. Either I'm oblivious or we just have a lot thinner traffic.

I have been in similar situations as you describe being inches from the edge of the road and as you rightly describe they are largely a result of me going too fast. It is amazing though how fine a line there is for a few moments between riding and crashing...

Glad you stayed on the right side of the line.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Bill Sommers said...

Thats a two-diaper day. One to mess, and the other to change into.

I'm glad that you didn't go down.

Have safe fun,

Bruce Fawcett said...

My poor Yamaha was totaled last June when I drove it into a curb making a left turn. I had just swerved (slightly) to avoid a big puddle and the curb was suddenly "upon" me before collision avoidance tactics could be employed. Fortunately, I only had a few scratches and a big bruise on my shine. BUT my scooter . . . now working toward saving $$ to buy another.


Dave Dixon said...

My count might be a bit high but it certainly feels like there's a potential accident almost every week. And it's not lie I'm a wild rider - I ride almost exclusively in the right lane, don't take chances, and ride as predictably as I can.

I know that riding to Vancouver can have greater potential for problems than local riding but I really enjoy going into the city. I'll just continue to be vigilante in my riding, trying to predict what drivers will do and never assume that a car sees me.

It was certainly unsettling - and I'm glad I stayed upright!

Hey, the main thing is that you were OK after your crash. I know that one of my thoughts, for a split second, was that I was worried that I'd scratch my lovely Vespa!

Heinz & Frenchie said...

Scary is what we would call it. You are really tempting fate and we hope you are always on the winning side. Slow down and live longer. Speed is very seductive.

Happy Thanksgiving. Check out our turkey on a Vespa. It will put a smile on your face.

Dave Dixon said...

heinz and frenchie

It was scary and I do try to keep my speed down - I guess sometimes it takes an experience like this to make me just a little more cautious.

Love the turkey - but Thanksgiving was last month! At least up here... :-)

Heinz & Frenchie said...

Well you Canadians have to find some way to get ahead of us. Do you also eat turkey? We knew our European friends did not celebrate a Thanksgiving Day, but had no idea that Canada did.

Dave Dixon said...

heinz and frenchie
Our Thanksgiving is almost the same as your tradition. The turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie is all the same. We just have it a month earlier - that way we get the best turkeys! :-)

American Scooterist Blog said...

Glad this one didn't end in a crash. phew Strange isn't it, how you keep on riding after the "incident" and only after a bit does the heart start pounding and you begin to let yourself emotionall react to what just happened. 'Tis the season... to be extra careful ;)


Conchscooter said...

Is that it for this blog, then?

Dave Dixon said...

You are exactly right - the immediate reaction is to ride on but when you stop a few minutes later or arrive at home - that's when the thumpity thump really starts.

No chance! Just a bump on the blogging road. Thanks for the wake up call, though!