Taillight Obstruction

Mundane personal anecdote: during my pre-dawn walk to the metro station for the past month I've often met a bicyclist blasting down the opposite side of the street toward me at 5:50am, plus or minus 1-2 minutes. (He's apparently as much a creature of habit and schedule as I am!) His white headlight is bright, but after he passes I've glanced back and noticed that the flashing red light on his helmet is totally obscured by his backpack, since he rides crouched low over his handlebars.

Automobiles speed along the same street, which narrows to one lane as it passes the graveyard. Visions began to pass through my head of the mystery bicycle man run down by a car that never sees him. But how to communicate a hazard with somebody you only encounter en passant for a few seconds every few days? I fretted about this for many mornings, and finally took to walking on the other side of the street.

The cyclist didn't appear several days in a row, but finally last week I saw him, gathered my wits, and waved frantically to flag him down. Oblivious, he didn't pause. So I shouted, "Can't see your taillight!" after him. It was all I had time to come up with. He reached back, I presume to check whether the switch was off or the battery dead. I figured that I'd have to keep trying.

But apparently my unknown nightrider figured out the problem, thank goodness. This week his flashing light is clipped low on his backpack where cars have a chance to spot it before it's too late. I can relax again, and imagine that I've saved a life ... until I see the old lady in her motorized wheelchair crawling along the same street, cars narrowing missing her as she refuses to use the sidewalk. I don't think she will listen to me ...

(cf. ParkwayDelay (2001-12-28), ...) - ^z - 20080109

(correlates: ParkwayDelay, QuestionAuthority, StaticActors, ...)