Friday, May 26, 2006

My accident

How could I forget to tell you this?

On Wednesday, on the way to rowing practice, I was rear-ended by a car. ON MY BIKE.

That's right, a car very gently rolled into my bike while we I was stopped at a red light waiting to turn left.

Note: it is my practice to ride in the street and obey the traffic rules for cars. I use hand signals, stop at lights, etc. I stay as far over to the right as possible and I will ride on the sidewalk if it is safer than the street. I claim the right lane at stop signs to avoid getting hit by cars that are turning right. I get in the left hand lane to make left turns—and get over to the right as soon as I'm through the intersection.

My reaction to the tap was something like this, "What the FUCK are you doing? Godammit! What are you doing?!?!?"

The guy, in his enormous burgundy truck said, "What? I didn't see you."

He didn't see me. I was directly in front of him.

"You can kill people that way!!" I shouted.

Oddly, my first thoughts were about the bike. Did he break my bike? Did he bend the frame? How much time is this going to take to resolve?

I pulled over to the side of the road to assess damage and he pulled over next to me—just as though it were a car accident. He got out of his car—a young, sweet looking, black guy. He spoke quietly, "I didn't see you. I thought the light was going to change and I just rolled forward."

I said, "Harrumph."

He said, "Are you ok? Is the bike ok? Can you ride it?"

"It looks ok. I'm fine. But you bent the fender—here—see the stays are bent. They're rubbing against the tire."

"Can you ride?" He grabbed one of the stays and tried to bend it back.

"Sure, I can ride it. It's just rubbing the tire. I can fix it later."

"Here's my card…just send me the bill. I'll pay for a new one."

I started to feel bad. He seemed so sincere and stunned. I knew I would never ask him to pay to replace the fender. The money is trivial. (Note: I found replacement parts on the internet for $15.) I got back on the bike and rode to practice, only a little shaken. Not as shaken as I thought I should be.

Later that night, I looked at the man's card and saw that he works for a construction contractor. My thought? "Maybe we can get him to do some work around the condo." Then again, running into bicyclists isn't really a good recommendation…for anything.

Grateful for: my physical safety.
Drop me a line.

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