We hear a lot about the “war” between cars and cycles. It even crops up, benignly, in the comments on our Northgate Station post earlier this month.
On Friday we got a different kind of story from Sarah, who wanted to reach out to a cyclist she and her husband almost hit in one of our roundabouts.
The incident apparently ended with the cyclist screaming at the car, and Sarah and her husband – cyclists themselves – distressed.
“I didn’t like how things were left; of course there was no opportunity for communication,” she writes. “But we are neighbors up here and I feel like it’s important that we all be on the same team, especially with rising crime in our city, etc. I’d like to think he was just having a bad day and is not naturally this violent a person, but I was totally shaken by this.
“Is there any chance you could post the following open apology to this fellow, just in case he might happen to see it? The thing I love about Maple Leaf is how tightly knit the community is; this morning was a sad thing, and I want to feel like maybe we can make amends.”
Her open letter is below:
To the biker (a man with thick – wavy? – silver hair, white bike) at the roundabout at 12th and 90th this (Friday) morning:
I want to apologize to you. My husband and I yielded to let two cars go ahead of us before entering the roundabout. I know you feel that you were cut off, because you were on the right. I hope you will believe me when I tell you that neither of us even saw you until we had already entered the roundabout and were halfway through our turn. My husband actually tried to slam on the brakes – I know, because I gasped….
I think my husband heard me gasp and realized he couldn’t stop in time to allow you to turn, so he stepped off the brake and cut the turn as tightly as he could, trying to give you room. You were angry. I understand. I hope you will believe me when I tell you that both my husband and I actually do bike to work on a fairly regular basis, and that I know your anger. But I hope that you can understand that this was not an act of aggression or malignancy on our part; we simply did not see you.
I was deeply distressed at how things were left because I am concerned about biker/car relations in this city, and I think that what we really need is more and better communication between bikers and cars. We respect bikers. We respect you. There wasn’t an opportunity for us to communicate this morning, so I have written the folks at Maple Leaf Life in hopes of getting ahold of you somehow and expressing our very sincere apologies. We really just did not see you until we were already in the roundabout.
Furthermore, as this happened near our home (and it seemed like you were just setting out for the day), I assume that we are neighbors up here in Maple Leaf. What I have found particularly special and meaningful about living in this community is how tightly knit this neighborhood is. I feel like Maple Leaf is remarkable for the way its citizens band together and hold the line against rising crime pressing in on us from Northgate and Lake City; we look out for each other. It’s important to both my husband and I that we be good citizens and good neighbors.
Can we chalk this morning’s incident up to human error/failure of vision and bury the hatchet? If it would help, I’d love to sweeten the deal with a jar of of my homemade wild-foraged salmonberry jam.”