In a Flash

I almost died today. The blue car that didn’t hit me was so close that I could see the logo on the cell phone the driver  was holding.  My husband and I went out for lunch and a drive  on the motorcycles. On the way back, we were sitting at an intersection. The light turned green, and I pulled my helmet visor down over my face and began to cross the intersection. I noticed a driver stop in mid-right turn as he waited for me to cross.

And then the blue car was there. The front end wasn’t dipping down, and that meant he wasn’t going to stop. I stomped on the brake that controls the rear wheel and my hand reached for the front brake. It was hot and my leather glove didn’t release the throttle, so the engine raced and the tires smoked against the road.

A motorcycle connects to the road through two spots on the tires the size of your tongue. The rest of it balances through forward motion or the skill of the driver. I had one foot on the brake and one on the ground, and I wrenched the handlebars to the left, to avoid the impact. The car roared by me, missing me by about an inch. My husband swears the trajectory looked like I’d be broadsided.

The car slammed on his brakes and then immediately sped away. I shook my head and drove on. No sense calling the police, the only thing I could have told them was the car was blue and the brand of the cell phone the driver was talking on.

I’m grateful to be alive tonight. I’m grateful my bike was heavy enough to take the sudden stop while I still had the hand on the throttle.

Had I done things a tiny bit differently, my husband would be planning my funeral tonight. People would talk about how cell phones cause accidents. The news would report that the driver of the car didn’t sustain “life threatening injuries”–that measure that validates whether or not to show the video.

But I got another chance to balance on two pieces of rubber the size of your tongue and enjoy the fresh air. I won’t even consider not riding my bike. Had I been in the car, I would not have given that glance to either side before I clear the light. I would have been broadsided. Maybe the guy would have dropped his phone.

–(c) Quinn McDonald, 2007. All rights reserved. Quinn McDonald is happy to have more life to live, and she hopes to do it as a writer and certified creativity coach. You can see her work at