I found this Pearl Izumi vest at Goodwill a few months back. It fits me and has a decent silhouette, and I told myself that I’d wear it when the weather got warmer. Good visibility, you know. I hear it’s important.
The weather got warmer. I looked at it once or twice. Neon green. Shudder. I put it back. (Although the ladies in the merchandising office at work assure me that neon is coming back in style, for fashionable adults as well as kids. Meh. Call me when hypercolor is back in style, because that stuff was awesome.)
I pulled it out of my closet again this week, because I was almost rear-ended by a semi truck on my way home Monday.
It was daylight, I had my blinkers going (I’ve always got them on, day or night). I was riding near the middle of the right lane on E. Marginal, taking the full lane like I always do in order to keep people from buzzing by me at 50 mph (the speed limit is actually 35, but that’s never the speed anyone’s going. Think about the last time you drove on E. Marginal Way. You probably sped, too, without even thinking about it.)
I heard the hiss of brakes, and a semi veered over into the left lane, about five feet off my rear wheel. He made as if to pass me, then slowed back down and got behind me. I figured he’d been about to do that thing where cars speed around you then cut you off to make a right turn just in front of you rather than adding .5 seconds to their travel time (it’s a classic bus driver move, too).
He hung back for a long time, never taking the right turn I expected him to. He continued going forward in my lane, about 50 yards behind me, for maybe a full two minutes. Meanwhile, I’m fuming. What the hell was he doing? Is he turning or isn’t he? Why is he following along behind me like a creeper?
Eventually he changed lanes, sped up, and passed me. I flipped him off and yelled a few things I won’t repeat here. (I’m not a very calm cyclist sometimes).
And then I started thinking. He was never turning right. He wasn’t aggressively trying to get around me. Most likely, he didn’t see me until the last minute and slammed on the brakes, then was so shaken up that he hung back to collect himself before gingerly passing me. He was probably nearly as traumatized as I was. I feel a little bad about flipping him off now. Maybe.
So I reached into my closet and pulled out the neon atrocity, because, let’s face it: I don’t have a great sense of style anyway. I merrily don clashing hues without a second thought. My favorite pair of pants are so worn through that you can’t even tell that they used to be corduroy. I already look like a dork, and I’ll look even stupider smeared across E. Marginal Way.
And neon? I hear it’s coming back.
Actually, this skirt suit? It’s pretty awesome. Can you just imagine if that became the standard of cycling safety wear. Remember this skirt from BurdaStyle? (I posted about it here.) Maybe it’s time to make one. Excellent–a chance to buy more fabric!