Friday, 21 August 2009

Pedestrian Pillock

Deansgate circa 1930
Trams don't operate on this street now and the cobbles are long gone

My last of ten consecutive nights shifts tonight before my holiday so on a bit of a high. This one (and the first) are actually additional shifts i do on an ad hoc basis. So instead of heading to Bury tonight i turned left and blitzed 6 miles down the A56 into Manchester city centre.

20 mins and i am on Deansgate making about 18mph. Very little traffic as the road is partially shut due to roadworks but a fair number of pedestrians about (Friday evening in the city centre!!). It is still light but i have my front flasher on anyway. Then it happens. A male youth steps into the road without once bothering glancing in my general direction. Even though he is crossing my lane and oblivious to my presence i am not concerned - i have seen him and there is a 5M gap between us - stop pedalling, aim for the gutter area,  pass behind and he'll be none the wiser. Or so i thought!

He must catch my flasher in the corner of his eye. Something makes him look anyway. All of a sudden the situation is dramatically changed. My flasher is now a full beam headlight and he is a frozen rabbit. Stay frozen i think, there is room for me to pass, start using the rear brake. No good - he decides maybe the middle of the road is not a place to wander into without thinking and so makes the decision to dart back to the pavement from whence he came. My route is now cut off. I will hit him if i carry on. Both brakes on hard. Lock the back wheel up. Turn away from him. Try to minimize the damage.

I slide to a halt with less than 10cm to spare. How i didn't flatten him i will never know. The look on his face was priceless - part gormless and part stunned with a smattering of embarrassment. He mumbled something i didn't listen to as i cycled round him. I realize my feet have not left the pedals, i have avoided a potential nasty collision by dint of my observation and riding skill, it is my last night shift and i am going to the Lakes for a weeks holiday tomorrow. I don't even tell him he is a pillock - he knows already. I feel really good.

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