Almost smashed on road ride by to cope without freaking out family

Sorry…I don’t know where else to put this and would love some advice. I was happily riding on a beautiful summer evening and almost got killed by a motorcycle. I had the right of way through a green light going straight through an intersection, and this asshole from the other side of the road decided to take a left right in front of me. He wasn’t moving as I approached the intersection…
if he was I certainly would have stopped earlier. I slammed my brakes, my rear wheel came around some because I slammed my brakes so hard, and luckily I was able to stay upright. This guy then yells at ME and drives away. No one else stopped…I’m just some random on a bike I guess. At least I didn’t slow down their drive by spilling my guts on the road.

I can’t say anything to family or my wife because they’ll freak out. I know many of us here have had similar experiences. How do you overcome close calls and get your heartbeat to a reasonable rate to ride home? Any tips on making peace with sharing the road with crappy drivers? I couldn’t have been more visable…it’s a sunny day, I’m 6’5" wearing a neon yellow jersey and helmet.

Jeez. Time to hop on the trainer.

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Glad you are OK….incidents like this are part of the price of admission, sadly. It likely won’t be your last one, either.

My advice is to tell your family….you can downplay how serious it may have been, but tell them “man, some jack hole motorcyclist turned right in front of me today….luckily I was able to avoid him. Glad I am as careful as I am out there” or something similar. That will the give you the opportunity to talk through it with the people you care about and whim it will most impact if something bad happens.

Stay safe out there!


Ditto, glad you are ok.

Ironically, the moto is a type of road user that likely has the same story as you (near miss), with a car cutting him off via a left hand turn. It’s something they teach in all the motorcycle safety classes in particular. I’ve also had it when I was riding moto years ago.

We share the same basic issue, where we are effectively invisible (despite all the lights and hi-viz we might use). We have to own the “defensive” approach where we have to assume people won’t see us and will not make any adjustment to keep us safe. Any cyclist with more than a bit of road riding likely has at least a handful of those near miss stories. Sad fact and part of riding on the road with other vehicles (moto’s included).

I agree, it’s probably best to be honest and share the story. Good or bad, the family may well deserve to know that there is risk in riding like this. It may even lead to discussions with other people in the area and hopefully, better understanding by people in that discussion. We can only hope that drivers learn we have the right and ability to be on the roads. And then maybe the ways they can safely drive around us. Idealist for sure, but it’s one way we might be able to improve the situation.


Thank you both…you make great points!!

Now that I’m a little more clear headed I’ll talk to my wife. She knows I do everything I can to be safe but she still worries.

It’s a shame we have have these stories but Chad you make a great point about discussing these incidents and hopefully raising awareness.

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Road riding can be dangerous sometimes, and you should talk to your partner about it. You should not be lying or underselling your story, because what I read from your post is that you are freaked out, too. Your wife will be worried, because she loves you and because she can tell that you were scared. That is normal.

I deal with this combining a number of issues: I live in a big city and it takes me about 20 minutes to get out to calmer back roads. One big issue with cars is that they underestimate my speed. The speed limit in Japan in the city is 40 km/h for the most part, and I can reach that speed on a road bike or get very close to it at least. Most of the closest calls I have had were drivers who wanted to overtake me in the most inopportune situations.

So here is what I do to lower the personal risk: (1) Route choice and timing is probably the most important factor. That takes some experience, and you can’t necessarily just follow the routes suggested by Strava or whatnot, which are great on paper, but could be suboptimal. I try to get out of the city quickly and to calmer roads. Timing can also be crucial, sometimes there are predictable traffic patterns flowing in one direction or another.

(2) Defense is my best offense. I ride very defensively when there is traffic. In the city I try not to ride aggressively and use my knowledge of some of the idiosyncrasies of Japanese drivers to my advantage. E. g. they use turn signals very, very late, so I don’t just squeeze by after the light has turned green. Anticipate some of the stupid things drivers might do. If you are chasing average speed, push the lap button as you exit and enter congested areas so that you are under no pressure of hitting e. g. 30+ km/h on your trip. I also don’t try to curse at drivers.

(3) Part of your defense is being visible. Don’t be on a black bike in black clothes when it is quite dark. Wear some high-vis clothing (e. g. I have an orange POC helmet), something with reflectors (most jerseys come with them) and use lights also during the day.

(4) Try to get something like a Garmin Vario radar and/or mirrors. Yes, perhaps mirrors look dorky, but they keep you alive. My road bike is pretty much perfect, on of the few upgrades will be a Vario.

(5) I do not compete for downhill KOMs. I have a family and don’t want to end up as an organ donor. Perhaps this isn’t directly included, but should be. If you are rushing downhill, you can easily get faster than a car, and avoiding all sorts of close calls because a car is taking the switchbacks at glacial speeds.

(6) Be excellent to drivers. Thank them. Often. I use a hand waive and thumbs up liberally. Give them clear signals (e. g. our team uses stop when we are in a peloton and want to signal to drivers that they should wait even just to remind them of what they are supposed to do — we of course don’t cut them off).

Lastly, if you still feel that this is too dangerous, try mountain or gravel riding.


I find having a rear AND front strobe helps here. He genuinely may not have seen you, depending on the background. There’s been a lot of times when I’ve been driving and barely been able to spot cyclists, so I don’t think that every incident like this is malicious. Having that front light draws attention from oncoming traffic and people pulling out of side streets.

Having the notion that most drivers are ignorant about rather than offensive towards cyclists, helps me cope with the fact that the chances of an incident like this are very slim especially where I ride. I’ve had a few close calls, which usually results in some words but that’s about it.


Agree with the flashing lights on the front and rear your bike - they have made a huge difference over the last couple of years. The Garmin Varia is the best money I have ever spent on cycling equipment.

I also like Oreo’s post about doing what you can to reduce your risk, time of day, less busy roads, roads with bike lanes, etc.


All great points. I’ve got the Varia and won’t ride without it. I’ll make sure to have a flashing front light up front all the time going forward.

The intersection was in the middle of a small town, with lots of rural (and beautiful!) surrounding roads. Ibe never had an issue riding here before, but I guess it makes sense to stay off the beaten path!!


There is none.


Another vote for front and rear strobes. Most cars have daytime running lights these days. All cyclists need to do the same.

Neon yellow is a step but passive colors are you asking to be seen, strobes are you demanding being seen.


Don’t take it personally; people just don’t see us.

I wear neon jerseys, have flashing strobes on front/back, and a white helmet. Still, people overlook me.

A few weeks back, I almost got T-boned by another bike rider at an intersection of one-way streets. He said, “Ugh I didn’t see you.” The troubling thing was, I didn’t see him either. I guess we were both so busy looking for motorists that we just overlooked each other on bikes.

The good news is: things are much better now than they were 25 years ago when I was a young man. I think the huge influx of clueless e-bike riders puts drivers on edge. They’re a bit more accustomed to ‘seeing’ cyclists now; and since many e-bikers have no idea how to handle themselves in traffic, motorists give all of us a wider berth (when they notice us).

Some things, like being doored, are partially avoidable with experience, foresight, and defensive riding. Other things, like the OP’s incident, are just bad luck. Hopefully, the motorcyclist will look twice in the future.


Another vote for visibility. I run stupid bright front and rear strobes. An even though I don’t have it pointed high enough to be directly in anyone’s eyes, the front has gotten me headlight flashes, honks, obscene hand gestures, and yelled at. I’m good with that - if you can flip me off you can see me.

I also run a bar-end mirror and a Varia. The Varia tells me when I need to look in the mirror. It has literally saved me from getting run over on a rural road at least once. I don’t ride without both anymore.

As for telling your spouse/partner - don’t lie, don’t downplay. They have to understand the risks, and accept your risk/reward analysis. And as someone sharing your life, you have to give them some say in what you do.


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I’m both a motorcyclist and cyclist. I can GUARANTEE YOU that if he was turning left he was probably looking for cars that could kill HIM.

Him yelling at you was uncalled for and he probably was scared and on adrenaline by the time he did see you so most likely not coherent, but also, people tend to like to hate cyclists

This video does talk about motorcycle but… 2 wheels on the road = similar issue

Ride like nobody can see you, and if they can see you, they’re out to kill you


I know its been said several times above, but I now run front and rear lights all the time and wont leave without them on. I used to do it Oct-Feb but frankly now I run them 24/7.

I love the tiny Bontrager Ion/Flare cube lights - they have a great daylight adjusted slightly random pulsing mode and my feeling is that I get a lot more consideration from oncoming road users since I started running that ont he front. It just ‘seems’ like cars are more likely to give way at pinch-points and junctions than when I rode without them. Not all of them of course but after years of the usual behaviour from drivers it does feel slightly different.

I don’t report incidents to my wife or she would probably worry too much. She’s a doctor that worked in emergency wards etc and already refers to motorcyclists with the medical slang of ‘organ donors’ so I dont add share anything with her. She hears me rant to others sometimes - those idiots at parties that say all cyclists are dangerous idiots etc - so she knows, but I don’t make it any more obvious than I have to. I certainly have never mentioned it to my kids and even though they are now older I wouldn’t. It’s just a dirty secret shared and discussed by all my riding partners - we just vent to each other.

Good luck and as my motorcycle instructor and examiner father always drilled into me, remember that ‘everyone out there is trying to kill you’…


Friend of mine used to ride bulls and motorcycles. Had to learn how to walk again after one of his motorcycle accidents. He died in a car accident…in a car.

A local bike packer, rides all the time disappearing into the mountains for days at a time was recently killed in a car accident…in a car.

I decided to drive my car to work earlier this year to play it safe. I was rear ended. By shear luck, I wasn’t killed, but my car was crushed. If anyone would have been in the back seat, they would be dead.

There are a million ways to die. Riding a bicycle is just one of them. Imagine slowly bleeding to death in a car accident thinking about how you were being safer than driving your car.

My ex wife always encouraged me to enjoy my life. She put 100,000 miles on a motorcycle right after our divorce. Did she worry about me? Probably. Did I worry about her? Yes. But we both know that we are more likely to get killed riding our horses, so worrying about bicycles and motorcycles seemed silly.

Route choice and timing are the biggest variables I’ve found that can positively affect my road rides. Stay safe. Be bright.


My advice is to always assume that you aren’t seen. Think of a green light as a yield sign. Look all ways before going through. I personally learned this the hard way when a red light runner totaled my car.


My wife just shared a story with me about how she almost got hit on her walk yesterday by a driver on a cell phone who blew through a stop sign in our neighborhood. It never occurred to me to suggest she stop walking ;-).

I share stories about close calls now and then if it fits into the conversation or was unusual (e.g. like the time the same lost pizza delivery guy nearly hit me 3 times in less than 2 minutes). The only editing I do is I do avoid or fudge stories of near misses where I was outright at fault or really let my guard down and ended up in a bad situation. Those are the things that might rightly cause a spouse to question your activity choice!

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I have learnt its best to go very early in the mornings before people are on the roads



ALSO, if you run a Garmin headunit, use the “LiveTrack” feature. Every. Single. Time (Wahoo has something similar, I think)

My wife and son get annoying LiveTrack “ride started” notices on their phones at obscene hours of the morning when I get on the bike – in a perverse way, the welcome the notification. Finally, if you have a Garmin, enable the “incident detection” feature that’ll send an alert to your ICE contacts if the acceleration/deceleration sensors are tripped.

yes, all the stuff can give false positives. big whoop. if it saves your life, or gets assistance to you faster when you’re off the bike, its worth its weight in gold.