2020.12.08 – Close Encounters…

On Monday morning I woke up feeling quite groggy as I had slept poorly. I called in sick, and slept another few hours. By late morning I was feeling much better and I wanted to go for a ride since I was not able to ride all weekend long. I planned out a relatively easy ride to recharge. I settled on a route which would whisk me away from my usual journeys along the north shore of Long Island, routing me all they way down to Heckscher State Park on the south shore. I have not been down to that park in probably 10 years.

Roughly forty five minutes into my ride, I was approaching Sunrise Highway from the north on Lakeland Avenue, a two lane road with a wide shoulder. As with most things Long Island, traffic and tons of cars is a given at all hours of the day. I make the assumption that there is always a car coming up on me, and therefore, I always check over my shoulder before moving into the lane.

I was suddenly startled by the sound of a horn, followed by a dark colored pickup truck, possibly a Ford F150, overtaking me on my left. My instinctual reaction was to raise my left arm and exclaim: “Hey! what’s the deal?” as he drove past. The driver of truck decides to slow down and roll down his passenger window and as I came up next to him, the driver informs me that he was honking to let me know he was there.

I replied that I could hear him coming, and that the use of the horn can startle us cyclists which can cause us to unintentionally swerve and possibly involve us in an incident. He then asked why I was not riding right up against the curb. I, of course, replied that glass and debris thrown from cars, along with sand, sticks, and foliage collect there and it is not safe for me to ride there. He then told me I should be riding on the sidewalk. By now I was getting irritated, and once again I replied that it is not legal for me to ride there, and that he should know the rules of the road in order to hold a drivers license.

At this point I was really growing tired of this conversation. This stretch of road is a 40/45mph zone and with him doing my speed of about 20-21mph, traffic was backing up behind him. So I told him several times to “Get out of here…” The driver of the pickup truck then pulled away from me, and then suddenly he slams the brakes and steered into the shoulder right into my path, which would have taken me out had I not already been on the hoods and ready for anything by now. I was able to emergency brake and pull right. Thankfully the wide shoulder allowed for an escape route.

I was now enraged, and I screamed at the driver that he had just committed assault and I was going to call the police. Of course he then pulled away making a right turn onto the service road of Sunrise Highway to head westbound.

I had no plate number nor my GoPro so obviously there is not much I can do. I am thinking of putting the GoPro on my bike more permanently, and doing more recording anytime I’m riding. The events did sour my ride and I was quite cross for the rest of it, but I was fortunate it did not end up  worse than it could have been.

One thought on “2020.12.08 – Close Encounters…

  1. Unfortunately this is not that unusual. Glad you are alright. 2 weeks ago on 27a in E. Islip a guy in an SUV decided to turn into a restaurant while I was beside him…so I had to turn with him to avoid being run over. I said What the hell is wrong with you? He said I was going too slow and to get lost …Luckily I didn’t get crazy as I would have ended up arrested since I approached him in his car. I’m probably 20 years older than the guy and at 70 I really don’t need to get in any fights. I agree that you and I and all of us need a camera 2 if possible to back up our story and then call a cop. I’m curious as to what Joe Zaverdas suggests.. Stay well and try to stay safe. By the way I started using a mirror on my glasses to help me see what’s coming up.

    Liked by 1 person

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