Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.
Imagine me riding down Route 30, nominally coming from the east and heading west. Coming along there, I’d just ridden down a steep grade. I’m going about 30 mph; maybe a little slower. The road goes through a kind of complicated intersection so I don’t just let ‘er rip most of the time. At the bottom of the hill is a relatively small underpass (you can see Route 9 going over my path in the map above), the kind with perfectly vertical walls. The lanes — one in each direction — narrow significantly there, and I tend to place myself just slightly right of the middle of the road because there are, in succession, a killer grate, dead pigeons, and lots of patches in the road. This has worked fine in the past, and most drivers wait patiently until we clear the underpass before passing me.
This morning, however, a full-sized van — I think owned by a transportation company; it’s numbered KTI-474 on the back and I see it all the time — passed me as we went through the underpass. It passed within a hair’s-breadth of me; if I’d twitched, or hit something, or if anything had happened, or if I’d stretched my elbow out a bit, I would’ve hit the side of the van. It was driving fast, probably over the 35-mph speed limit, but I felt like it was next to me for an eternity. I admit I swore, loudly, as he went by — and I never swear. I tried to hold my line as perfectly as humanly possible (there was nowhere for me to go: the wall of the underpass on my right, the side of the van inches away on my left, road crap and dead birds to doge beneath my tires) and by the grace of God the van passed without disaster. By the time he finished passing me, I was shaking and gasping and it was really a good thing he was long gone because I was ready to give him a piece of my mind. I’d take an endless line of semi-trucks, garbage trucks, school buses going by me over a repeat of that experience any day. I noticed as he drove away that he wasn’t even centered in the lane — he was off to the right a ways.
I wish I had some recourse, some way to tell the driver how close he passed and how terrifyingly dangerous it was for me. Thankfully nothing terrible happened, but that kind of unsafe driving practice endangered me far beyond necessary, especially since waiting behind me for 30 seconds would’ve brought us both clear of the underpass to a place where the road widens enough for safe passing. But even if I got his license plate number next time I see him, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t do any good.