Bike v. Car: Round I

I got hit by a car this morning. Actually a very large truck. F-250 I believe. But it was big…and tan. You’d think I’d be able to tell you more about the truck, since I got a pretty close look at it…. but I can’t. It’s pretty embarrassing how it happened, actually. I made a rookie mistake: I assumed a motorist had seen me without making eye contact with them. We both came to a complete stop at a 4 way intersection perpendicular to each other. We had arrived at pretty much the same time. Maybe I got there a little before he did, but pretty much the same time. According to traffic rules, he was on my right, so he had the right-of-way. We were both stopped at the intersection for several seconds, and I was waiting for him to pass through the intersection. But many drivers don’t follow the same rules when bikes are involved, and often give the bicyclist the right-of-way, even if legally, the car should have it. After the truck was stopped at the intersection significantly longer than what I thought was normal for a vehicle to wait at a stop sign, I assumed he had seen me and was waiting for me.

This proved to be an incorrect assumption. As soon as I was half way across the intersection, he accelerated and hit me. I can’t remember exactly what happened. I don’t remember exactly how I fell, except to note that after I hit the ground I was pointed in the wrong direction. But I do remember laying on the ground thinking, “please don’t run over my legs… PLEASE don’t run over my legs.” I knew the rest of me was ok, but I also knew part of my bike was underneath his wheels, and I wasn’t exactly sure where my feet were. Since I am one of the 46.6 million Americans without any health insurance, the last thing I needed was a trip to the emergency room.

Luckily, i was not seriously injured, suffering only minor scratches and bruises, and the only serious damage to my bicycle is a bent wheel.

I’m frustrated about this incident for several reasons, and the original intent of this blog was not to describe the incident, but rather to discuss bicycle policy issues, but I guess I don’t feel like discussing it anymore, and this is already getting pretty long. I’ll have to save it for another day.

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