Friday, August 20, 2010


Had one of my most entertaining close calls on the road today. I went out for short recovery spin from work in Merrimack, NH. One of the roads was detoured due to construction. A cop directed me up into a residential side street near my rollerski loop. I hadn't been on this street before. It flanks Cell Tower Hill and has a very steep ~10-12% rise in it. The road is only about a lane and a half wide, and you are completely blind to oncoming cars over the abrupt bump.

A woman in an SUV, probably a neighborhood resident, comes up right on my wheel. I'm riding recovery pace. She gets impatient, guns it around me completely over to the other side of the road. Wouldn't you know it, another SUV comes over the bump. I saw it first and preemptively got out of the way. I barely cleared the bumper and mirror of the woman passing me. I even whacked my helmet on a tree branch getting out of the way. The oncoming car, the woman passing me and myself all barely missed each other by small number of inches.

Now get this, the woman slows down, screams something unintelligible at me, then speeds off. I was pissed and thought it would be great if I caught up with her. Wouldn't you know it, at the bottom of the hill where the detour ended, there was another Merrimack police officer. She pulls up to him and goes off on this tirade how I almost caused an accident, that "that man was riding right the middle of the road." When she was done, I let her have it. I told her I was not riding in the middle of the road and that she had no right to pass me in a reckless way when there was an oncoming car. I told her New Hampshire has a three foot law and asked if she was familiar with it. She gives a blank look at the officer, maybe expecting him to chastise me, and he says this: "That's right ma'am, there is a three foot law." The woman huffs and nearly squeals the tires taking off without saying another word. The officer and I both had to chuckle over that one. I did not stick around to belabor the issue. Saw no point in it. Got a good chuckle out of it and called it good. Be careful out there kids.


rick is! said...

f'ers. I half hoped the story was going to end with her either going off the road or getting a ticket.

Dave said...

They should add to the 3 foot law that a cyclist may hit any car with a 2 foot long object such as chain or pipe and be free from any liability as the car should more than 2 feet away anyhow.

Fred said...

Funny, a similar thing happened to me last week. A car went WAY wide around me to pass, into the oncoming lane, and wouldn't you know it, the car coming the other way happened to be a cop. He spun around and pulled her over. I got a chuckle out of it!