I had something really scary happen to me this week. For heart-stopping drama, I’d rather be scared by gremlins in masks! I wrote this for the Letters to the Editor section of The Brunswick Beacon in hopes people will pay more attention to what they’re wearing now that we’re all “out after dark” unless we’re home for the night by 6:30.
This past Saturday morning, I was driving to Ocean Isle to set up for the Oyster Festival. It was very early—a gray, misty dawn overlaid with shadows of darkness was beginning to light the horizon. It was a few minutes after seven and I had time, so I stopped at Food Lion to get some Halloween candy for my booth. I was on my way out of the shopping center, stopped at the stop sign. I looked both ways, saw nothing and began to pull forward as I scanned left. It was then that I saw the biker. It’s amazing how much your brain can imprint in a millisecond—woman biker, black shorts, black shoes, black helmet . . . charcoal gray shirt on an all-black, skinny-tired racing bike. She looked young, maybe thirty. Her feet were pumping so fast it would have done no good for her to try to stop; instead, she expertly swerved in front of me, raised an open palm at my windshield and in an impatient gesture mouthed “Watch it!”
The swerve hadn’t been necessary; I had managed to stop before our paths crossed, but just barely. Without missing a stride she continued barreling past. Her emphatic “Watch it!” reverberated in my head all the way up 179 as my heart pounded in my chest. Lady, I was watching it. If I hadn’t been, you would have been hit. If I had blinked at the wrong time, you would have been hit. And I would not have felt it was my fault.
It is irresponsible for bikers (walkers too) to wear colors that blend with their environment. We are sharing the road, and you should be aware that I have the potential to do you great harm. Why would you not give a motorist the advantage of a few seconds to spot you sooner? Had you been wearing anything yellow, orange, white, lit or reflective, I would have seen you the first time I looked to the left. I would have seen something moving in the gray mist. We were both lucky that day. I hope you read this and give more foresight to your racing attire next time you get on your bike. I, too, am a biker, though not of your caliber. However, I always wear something bright—fluorescent pink and road paint yellow t-shirts being my favorites.