“And Lo! there shall be a wasteland of potholes. And the Judgement that they shall mete out to road users shall be stern and swift. Woe betide the driver or cyclist who’s vigilance fails.” The Book of Potholes
There is a nine block stretch of 97th street, extending north from 63 Ave that has achieved a truly sublime density of potholes. It has become so awful that you can only admire it.This Promenade of Potholes has been forming for a few years now but over the winter it really blossomed into its current impressive state. Back in 2011 I wrote about the dubious condition of this stretch of road. It was noteworthy because it was a newly designated bike route with signs and sharrows. Little did I know that the passing of nearly two years (with the accompanying two winter freeze thaw cycles) would result in a nearly post-apocalyptic road surface.
I’m not the type to gripe endlessly about potholes. Road repair is ongoing and I understand that this area will be attended to by city crews this year. Good. In the meantime, I cycle cautiously through the area and take special care when the pools of meltwater hide the potholes lurking below. Drivers who know the this road are equally cautious. Most of them, that is.
Last week on my way home I was negotiating the lane shown above. At the time the area was still mostly flooded with water from the rapidly melting snow. An SUV driver directly behind me followed for less than 10 seconds before losing patience. He floored the gas pedal, aggressively passed me and then cut sharply in front of me (possibly in an attempt to splash me). As there was no oncoming traffic he could have easily passed at a safe and moderate speed. After passing he gunned the engine and raced down the road.
A few seconds later (as I was considering making a rude gesture) a rare and splendid thing happened: he was instantly punished for his reckless driving. While splashing through the puddles the driver suddenly lost control of his vehicle and veered wildly over into the oncoming lane. He very nearly went off the road and onto the grass on the far side. It seems that he hit one of the submerged giant potholes.
This is probably the best outcome I could have hoped for. There was nobody else around on road but if there had been but it could have been a serious accident. I optimistically hope that a lesson was learned by the driver. With luck, he hit the hole hard enough to do some damage to his car. In any case, the incident put a smile on my face for the rest the trip home. During a trial by pothole, judgement is swift.