I was rolling along on the normal commute this morning and saw an almost-accident just in front of me. An e-bike (pretty serious rider - was in a full roadie kit) and a roadie commuter (also a pretty serious rider) were up ahead of me. The e-bike had just passed both of us as we got into the commercial ("downtown", ha!) part of Sausalito. All of the sudden the e-bike jammed on his brakes just short of a crosswalk. I think he noticed a police car next to him stopped in the turn lane so he decided to stop, too, out of an abundance of caution. The guy on the road bike started to brake behind him, but then the roadie realized no one was in the crosswalk so he passed on the e-bike on the left (always pass on the left! with a few exceptions I can cover another day...). At the point of deciding to pass, the roadie was now super close to the e-bike and they bumped shoulders pretty solidly and there was a solid 10+mph speed difference. No one went down, but it was close! And I can tell they were both pissed with each other about the situation (and in my opinion they both made some mistakes).
A few lessons / reminders from watching that play out:
- Don't jam on the brakes just because there's a cop next to you (unless you are about to run a light, but that's a different story).
- If you are following someone, especially in a "street rules" way and not an orderly group ride, you have to expect that anything can happen in front of you, and the bike(s) in front of you aren't thinking about your safety. They might not even know you are there! So leave extra distance and be extra vigilant.
- Stay relaxed. The passing roadie would likely have gone down if he'd tensed up upon bumping the e-bike. He stayed cool, didn't overcorrect, and made the best of a bad situation.
Stay safe out there!
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