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Archive for September, 2008

I commute to work via bike a few times per week. This activity results in the accumulation of about 36 miles of riding each trip. My route ranges from busy city streets to scenic bike paths to rarely traveled residential byways. Most days I ride to work and back without major incident but today was different. Or, I should say, today was almost different.

I was stopped at a red light waiting to pass through the crosswalk onto the bike path. Normally I don’t ride crosswalks preferring to go with the flow of traffic, but using the crosswalk at this particular intersection is the only way to access the bike route. As I waited I rested as I had already ridden most of my route for the trip in and I was tired. As the light went from yellow to red, I readied myself to cross the street.

The car in the lane closest to me slowed to a stop for the red light. I passed in front of him as I made my way across the street. All of a sudden I saw movement coming way too fast for someone approaching a red light. In the second lane, a guy driving a jeep came screaming down the street and ran the red light going about 50 miles an hour. I don’t think he even realized he ran the light so focused was he on his music or cell phone or getting to the freeway exit. Luckily, I was not going fast at all and was able to stop well before crossing his path. Luckily, also, he did not hit any of the traffic that had started to turn onto the street he was on.

However, the incident still left me a bit shaken. If I had been really on my game today and hit the crosswalk hard to get across quickly, I could have been directly in his path. Not often do we have the chance to come that close to what would have probably been a fatal accident and live to think about it. As I rode the rest of the way to school, I thought about how thankful I was that I had been paying attention (although could have been better) even though he had not.

Paying attention…at every light…at every intersection…at every rotation of my pedals…and in all aspects of life has come to the forefront for me today although I think about it a lot anyway. I am sure we don’t even realize how much we miss out on. This incident today makes me want to examine all parts of my life and ask in what ways I can better pay attention.

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