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Posted by tungtide on June 9, 2008, 1:08 pm

I was run over (or more accurately run into) by another cyclist last Wednesday during my ride home. It was clear that this woman was oblivious to the other bikes already present on the road, as she failed to yield in a bicycle traffic circle, instead forcing herself into a group of about eight cyclists and forcing at least one to slam on their brakes. Seeing that she was a danger to those of us on the road, I worked my way through the crowd in an attempt to get past her before she did something stupid. I was too late

Instead of staying to the right (in anticipation of the right turn she was about to make) she shifted to the middle of the lane as the group rounded a curve to the left. This gave me space on the right to pass her and work my way into safety. Without signaling, looking, or slowing she turned abruptly right and into me as I pulled even with her. I was on my road bike that day which meant that I was clipped into my pedals and unable to simply step off onto the ground. Despite straining (and likely looking really funny) I couldn’t unclip before hitting her bike and the ground.

I was cut up on my left arm (from the hand to the elbow) and leg (from the ankle to the knee) but suffered no serious injuries. My shiny new bike was spared any serious damage as well, getting scratched on the left brake lever, pedal, and the rear quick release. She was uninjured, although scared, and made sure I was alright before quickly running off. A few other passers-by slowed to as if I was alright, and would have stopped if I hadn’t waved them off.

As usual, I was wearing a helmet. Even though my head never came close to hitting the ground I would have been significantly more concerned about falling without it. In a town filled with bicycles I only see about 30% of the adult population wearing them. Anyone under the age of eighteen is required to wear one (although they often don’t keep them strapped on). The lack of adult helmet use may stem from the fact that most college students are still young enough to believe they are invincible.

We have all (or most of us) had that feeling as a child, knowing that you won’t get hurt easily or that the really bad stuff will happen to someone else. I never wore a helmet while riding as a child and I had my fair share of crashes. The 18-22 year-old range is still capable of that level of ignorant bliss, allowing them to ride and believe that the accidents will happen to someone else.

Oh yes, Possummamma also has a nice entry about the use of helmets, so I’ll happily link to her.

3 Responses to “Bicycle”

  1. Thanks for the link. I’m sorry to hear you got banged up.

  2. Janelle said

    I just found your blog, so I feel pressed to comment. I’m glad your head is safe, but sorry to hear about your arm and leg. I’m disturbingly amused that she ran away so quickly. Did she even apologize? Even though she paused, I think that should count as a hit and run. tsk tsk
    On the other hand, with how often I see people crash into each other just walking (or into walls that just “jump out in front of you”), I’m surprised there aren’t more accidents like this. How humans manage to walk upright at all is a mystery to me.

  3. tungtide said

    She was (rightfully so) freaked out about the whole situation. I don’t remember any apologies, but the exchanged words are a little bit of a blur.

    I’ve got two theories as to why she ran off so quickly: 1. She hit someone with a nice bike (my road bike is a low-end racing bike) and was afraid that she would have to pay to fix my bike. 2. She saw me bleeding and was freaked out that she had injured someone.

    Not sure if either is totally accurate

    I have better balance on a bike than I do on my own feet, oddly enough.

    On the other hand, with how often I see people crash into each other just walking (or into walls that just “jump out in front of you”)… How humans manage to walk upright at all is a mystery to me.

    If you remember back to high school I did walk into the poles in the middle of the hallways more than once. Never really thought that was a good design.

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