So guess what prompted this? That’s right, an accident on the way to work this morning. No, not me, I’m fine (saints be praised).
About halfway to work this morning, I was stopped at a light that I am often stopped at, and observed a car on the cross street to my left backing up from the intersection… and backing up… and I wondered what the hell he was doing. At first I figured he (or she, couldn’t see from where I was) forgot something at home and was going to back down the short street to their driveway. Until the landscaper’s truck in front of me suddenly pulled into the left turn lane when the light changed, and I saw in front of him, two cars up, a motorcyclist lying on the ground. The bike had been at the front of the line at the light, and the car behind him had hit the bike. There was a jeep behind that car, and two people standing around next to the biker on the ground. The man was on his cell phone, the woman (older woman with short gray hair, I’m assuming she was the one who hit the motorcycle since she didn’t look like the type to drive an open jeep with a roll bar) was just sort of standing there next to him. I don’t know exactly what kind of bike it was, just that it was one of those flashy red ‘crotch-rocket’ types. The motorcyclist still had his helmet on, but didn’t seem to be moving much. It must have happened only minutes before, there were no emergency vehicles yet.
So I slowly went on by, rattled and trying to think of everyone I know at work who rides a bike, hoping it wasn’t them. I rounded the curve and stopped at the next light, and was relieved to see a police car heading in the direction of the accident (no lights and sirens, though, so apparently just happened to be in the area and not responding specifically to the accident, but still trained help was close). A little further down the road and another police car, lights and sirens on, went by, and most folks dutifully pulled way over out of the way (most of us in that line of traffic had gone by the accident). About a mile down the road I make a turn, and as I came up to that light and got into the right turn lane, I saw the ambulance coming. Here’s where I saw something I never saw before.
Not only did the first car in line at the light go straight (east) through the intersection, straight at the on-coming ambulance, there was no attempt to slow down or pull over. He kept straight on in the lane and only swerved at the last second to avoid the ambulance as it was pulling to the center to get around traffic in the west-bound left-turn lane. He never even braked. It was a little white car, not sure what it was and didn’t get his plates. If he had hit head-on with the ambulance…
THEN, as I sat there horrified at what I had just seen, the SUV the ambulance was trying to get around in that aforesaid left-turn lane, waiting to make a left turn onto the road I was turning onto, WENT AHEAD AND MADE THE TURN, cutting off the ambulance. Two near misses in about 1/10th of a mile. All on the way to help an injured motorcyclist.
PEOPLE. FUCKING PAY ATTENTION OUT THERE. Check your mirrors, it’s your responsibility to be aware of everything on the road around you. Sure, my windows were up, the music was turned up, I had the sun in my eyes, but I managed to see and stop for both the police car and the ambulance. It doesn’t matter which side of the road you’re on, which direction you were planning to turn. When you see lights and hear sirens (and you better be seeing and hearing them) YOU PULL OVER AND STOP.
So there, I said it.