Other, Stories - Written by Entropy on Saturday, February 2, 2008 12:53 - 0 Comments

I Got Hit by a Car Today

Before anyone freaks out, I’m fine.

It was a crisp 45 degrees today and sunny, so I thought I’d ride my bike to work, since I rarely get to ride it anymore. The ride started off great (although my lungs burned from all the cigarettes I smoke now). On my way down a busy Comm Ave, a jeep full of what looked like frat guys pulled by me, and some guy in the back seat looked out the window and yelled, “What’s up!?” I said what’s up back as the jeep started to pull away. He leaned out and said, “Come on, man! Keep up!” So I kicked it up and caught up to them, reached out my hand and gave him a high five. Then I blasted by the jeep, and on down Comm through the next intersection. Rare moments like that seriously make my day.

Boylston was full of traffic, and the incident happened in Copley Plaza, at the intersection of Dartmouth and Boylston. First, a quick note about biking in a big city. Boylston has four lanes, and all four lanes were lined up with traffic for a good 100 yards.

||C1|C2|C3|C4||

As a biker, you have to choose which lanes you’re going to go between. Most newbie bikers, ALWAYS stay on the shoulder, just because that seems the most logical. Like this (X = the biker):

|XC1|C2|C3|C4||

This is stupid, because cars in C1 make left turns and cars in C4 make right turns. Many drivers don’t use blinkers, so you can run into a lot of problems. Not to mention, it’s harder to cut through red lights when you’re stuck on one shoulder. Dartmouth is a one way, to the left, so C1 will often turn left. As such, I positioned myself like this:

||C1XC2|C3|C4||

C1 had his left blinker on, this way he could turn without either one of us getting in the other’s way. And also, C2, C3, and C4 would all go straight and I end up on the left shoulder again until the next intersection. Well, C2 was a asslicking cuntfuck and decided, “Oh, gee whiz! This is my turn!” And decided at the last minute to turn left from the second lane. No blinker, no warning, just a sharp turn, right in front of me.

I hit the brakes and began to turn with him, but his turn was too sharp, and by the time I realized what was happening, I slammed right into his car. Luckily, I kept my balance, pulled my right leg off, to keep it from getting crushed, and let the car continue to turn me along with it. I dragged along with it and my handlebars scraped along the side if it (I hope I left horrible scratches in his paint). Finally, the car and I disengaged and I just kind of teetered over. The car stopped. Some people were screaming, “Oh my God!” or whatever, and I was just standing in the middle of Dartmouth with my bike.

I was completely fine. So I gave the guy the finger and rode off. I was lucky I reacted so quickly, because I could have T-Boned him and really gotten hurt — ie flown off my bike, smashed headfirst into his window, flipped over his car, etc. Instead, I’ll probably end up with some bruises at the most.

So here’s my rant. People HATE bikers in this town. Pedestrians hate them. Drivers hate them. And all for the same reason, we can go wherever we want, do whatever we want, ignore all traffic laws, and get places twice as fast as anyone else in the city. And a lot of this is justified, because the majority of bikers are fucking IDIOTS. They’re casual riders just enjoying a sunny day or getting from point A to point B. I agree, these people should stay the fuck on the sidewalk. They’re clueless.

But you guys have to see it from our perspective. Because of all that freedom and mobility, we have to pay twice the amount of attention as anyone else. Biking through Boston requires an insane amount of awareness of your surroundings. People in cars tune out, listening to music, talking on their cell phones, or whatever. Pedestrians, when no cars are coming, never cease to amaze me at how blind they become to bikes coming down the road, and they just walk right in front of you. If we ever tune out like that, we’re fucked. We’re lying in a ditch somewhere with a broken arm.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had cars try to turn into me, people open their doors right in front of me, people switch lanes right into me, people run red lights and almost hit me, and every time I’ve managed to move quickly and avoid an accident. Many times these people don’t even realize that they came within six inches of hitting a biker at 30 mph. They’re clueless, like this fuckface on Boylston was clueless.

I’m kind of scared at how desensitized I’ve become to this. I got hit by a car today. A fucking car. And I was over it within three seconds, peddling again up Boylston. Back when I was bike messenging, riding 9+ hours a day, I used to scare myself how I’d ride between traffic at 35 mph down Cambridge or Tremont street, and I wasn’t even getting nervous anymore when cars were literally an arm’s length away from me.

So I don’t know. I guess we’re all fuckheads. The drivers here are terrible. The pedestrians are plain stupid. Half of the bikers ride like they’re in special ed class, and the other half are like me: so desensitized to riding in traffic that we give everyone except ourselves a heart attack.

When I was a courier, I had a special thing that I did. When a car would cut me off or turn into me, and it was obvious the driver was oblivious to almost running me off the road, I’d reach out and punch the car really hard to freak the driver out. I wanted them to think that they hit me even though they didn’t. I thought maybe it’ll freak them out enough that they’ll pay more attention next time.

But now I’m thinking… maybe I should just wear a helmet.

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