Forgive me if this is incoherent as all of this just happened minutes ago.
I just got back from a ride through Fremont, Ballard, and back through Downtown. I stopped by Pike Place Market for a little while also.
After leaving The Market, I rode north to Bell Street because it’s the first hill that does not have cobblestones. I took a right, then another right on First.
When I got to the stoplight at Blanchard, I looked up and noticed a white car heading at me in the wrong lane. My lane. He was going fast, and he was heading right for me.
I sat there thinking that he would recognize his mistake, but the car kept getting closer and closer and closer.
Finally, I realized that this was not a mistake. He was driving like that on purpose. I checked my right, and cracked the throttle in front of the other cars sitting at the light. This caused me to go into the crosswalk of Blanchard and First, and technically I suppose, caused me to run a red light.
The white car (a little 4 door potato) finally blew the light at 1st & Blanchard, passed me, and he was doing at least 60Mph, and probably closer to 70Mph … IN THE WRONG LANE. Myself and the other cars were stunned. We looked at each other in disbelief, and then I looked back.
As luck would have it, there was a police car sitting about 20 feet behind where I had been. In the lane that I had vacated. He obviously pulled into the lane very soon after the car had gone by.
The cop was sitting there, and I was confused. I sat on my bike pointing and SCREAMING!
“Didn’t you see that, didn’t you see that?! What are you doing?! Do something!”
Now, the reflection on the cruiser windshield made it so I could not see into the driver’s seat. I don’t know if there was one cop in the car, two cops in the car, or what. I was just yelling at the front window in general. I am not sure where the cop(s) were focusing their attention.
While I was doing this, a man who had witnessed the entire thing in a pickup truck in the other lane of travel rolled down his window and began screaming at the cops “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! DIDN’T YOU SEE THAT?! DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!”
Finally, after at least 15-20 seconds of just sitting there, the cop hit his cruiser lights and VERY SLOWLY made a u-turn and drove north on 1st. The white car was out of sight by this time. I don’t know what the officer(s) were chasing, but they drove slowly off.
The man in the pickup truck yelled at me “What is wrong with those cops? What is wrong with them? Are they stupid or something? They just watched that guy almost run you over!”
I just shrugged.
Since he was pointed in my direction, the pickup driver had a better vantage point of the cruiser than I did. Since I didn’t see them until moving out of the way, I personally do not have an opinion on what the police saw, and why they failed to act. Maybe they just weren’t paying attention. I do not know.
I’ve been told that the Seattle Police frequently pull over scooters to make sure their riders have motorcycle licenses (I have one). If the rider does not have a license, they impound the scooter and charge some ungodly amount to retrieve it. This has never happened to me, it’s just something that I have been told. I do not know if that is what they were doing in this instance, it just crossed my mind as I was riding home as a possibility.
Maybe they were doing something really important that caused them to miss the obvious wrong way driver. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.
I was a little shaken, though. Since I saw the white car coming from a block away, and I got out of the way with about 2 full seconds to spare, I’m not going to call it a “close call”.
I do worry terribly that he struck and killed a pedestrian or biker later, though. I don’t know how he could have avoided hitting someone. I also wish the police had been paying attention. Traffic tickets and chasing down Capitol Hill pranksters is all well and good, but these scenarios are really where you have to rise and shine. These are the big things they teach you to deal with in the academy. This is where heroes are made. This is where the protection and service comes in.
Again, I am trying hard not to lay blame, but I still have some adrenaline going and I am still a little confused.
I had Google Tracks running during my ride, and you can see right here where the incident took place. My swerve looks three dimensional and weird due to the way I have the map configured, but that thumb-shaped pattern was me getting out of the way:
Now if you will excuse me, two near death experiences in one week is enough for me.
I’m going to stay home and watch TV for a couple of days.