Three times in the past month I have experienced the joy of the close pass. Time for a little rant... Three drivers have squeezed by me whilst I’m riding my bike, sufficiently close to make me feel my life was endangered. The first in a wide shared lane with the driver either not paying attention or understanding how close he was to me, the second on a two lane roadway with parked cars either side, that despite what I would have thought, apparently is wide enough for two cars to pass each other and me riding a bike at the same time, and the most recent, a narrow shared lane with everyone’s favourite bicycle infrastructure “the Sharrow”, travelling downhill, not slowly, someone felt the need to pass me closely at speed, then for some reason give me the finger! I soon caught up at the next light.
The joy is of course mostly sarcastic! It's not remotely enjoyable, although I might not even call it scary, the exact moment usually passes too quickly! It is almost a relief when it happens, because by the time you're aware of it, you’re thankful it was a close pass and not worse! Were it not a close pass, well, you'd likely be sitting at the side of the road bruised, broken, or dead!
The relief is often quickly replaced with anger! There's a reason you see people riding bikes getting angry at car drivers! It’s not a joy to have your life endangered just so that a person driving a car can get to the next traffic signal a smidge quicker. In the grand scheme of driving along a road, cyclists don’t hold car drivers up, other car drivers and traffic signals hold car drivers up!
[Insert demand for better education, enforcement, and infrastructure here...]
I highly doubt this will reach the intended audience of distracted, impatient, don’t give a damn, close passing car drivers… I’ll console myself with the fact that these “lucky” encounters were joyful close passes and nothing worse!