By August 30, 2007

Near miss?

I spent two days up in the DC area for a work off-site at the Captain’s house. I rode my motorcycle up, partly because it’s fun and partly because it costs about $60+ in gas to take the Montero. I was able to skirt significant traffic on the way up when I took the HOV lane (legally). On the way back it was a different matter.

I was cruising along I-270 S at much-higher-than-approved speed when I saw a bunch of brake lights in front of me. Traffic was stopped. I didn’t see any construction earlier in the day, so I assumed there was an auto accident. I flipped on my hazard lights and slowed down, eventually coming to a stop. About ten minutes of stop-and-go traffic later I saw what happened: a ten-wheeled truck had overturned onto its side, there was a black BMW sedan with the roof crushed in and all of its glass shattered, and three other cars in various states of Hulk Smash along the right side of the highway.

As I idled by on my motorcycle, I looked at one of the people involved. He was sitting near the overturned ten-wheeler, his head in his hands. He didn’t look injured, but he definitely looked emotionally shaken. About that time I realized that if I had left the Captain’s house a few minutes earlier — if I hadn’t stopped for one more round of hugs or didn’t try to take some Mayorga coffee beans with me — that I could have been right in the middle of that smash-up. I don’t think I would have survived a five-vehicle accident, regardless of the gear I was wearing. Getting cut off, dumping the bike, and sliding for a hundred feet is one thing; getting run over by five cars in a pileup is another.

I will admit that seeing the wreck changed my ride on the way home. Not how I rode — I still zipped along and cut through herds of cagers — but in how I felt as I rode. I was a little more nervous about passing between two semi-trucks in the middle lane. I was a little more worried about a driver not checking his blind spot and merging into me. Everything turned out to be fine, but it wasn’t a fun ride home.

Posted in: motorcycling

3 Comments on "Near miss?"

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  1. Ed says:

    Cagers? Hmm, I felt a sting there.

    Bloody tie fighter pilots, always bragging.

  2. Stomper says:

    Hey Doc,

    We’re very glad you took the time to pack extra Mayorga coffee and stayed for another round of hugs! 🙂

  3. Ric says:

    I always aim to keep at least one, and ideally two possible lines of evasion open to me when riding. I don’t need them often, but when I do, they’ve saved me lots of bruises at the very least.