Just about exactly 28 years ago I was riding home from work in the rain and dark of a Seattle winter around 6am atop Queen Anne. Done with another graveyard shift in the grocery store deli cranking out hundreds of sandwiches and salads in individually wrapped convenient containers (but that’s another story) I had a clunky Cateye headlight with two C batteries that gave off a sickly yellow light for about 90 minutes before it began to fade to black. It was clamped to the handlebar of a GT Continuum rolling 700D wheels (but that’s another story) I was nearly hit by a car at a 4-way stop because I assumed they could see me. In 0.33 seconds it’s the: she sees me she’ll stop, she sees me she’s just a shitty driver, she’ll stop, she’ll stop, SHIT. she’s not stopping, she doesn’t see me, she actually can’t see me, she never slowed down, she didn’t stop, she didn’t see me.
Just about exactly 28 hours ago I was riding home from work in the rain and dark of a Seattle winter around 5pm. Done with another shift on the electric assist bathtub at the education factory (but that’s another story) I had a small rechargeable headlight that gives off a bright beam, a wicked bright rear Knog light, a little blinky light on my backpack, a completely DOT reflective toptube pad made by DANK bags from an old road sign, reflective strips allover my jacket and reflective bands strapped to both ankles. Two cars blew right across my path as I slowly rolled across a side street that feeds into a Rainier Ave because they didn’t see me. When I stopped just short of the second driver’s window he rolled it down and said “you are not visible” I didn’t say anything but I thought “welcome to Rainier Beach” and I know there are not enough lights or reflectors in the world to make a cyclist “visible” in many a car context.
I actually drive a car sometimes and I’m more aware than ever how invisible pedestrians and cyclists are at night from the driver’s seat point of view through a windshield slathered in rain and condensation. 28 years ago I thought the act of clamping on that crap Cateye meant something. 28 hours ago I thought it was the thought that counts or something like that.
she blinded me with science
Ask me about my conspicuity.
Seen it. Done it. Designed the t-shirt.