Tuesday, May 22, 2007


{words by carey}

Left the house at 6:24am exactly; and I mean exactly. I know this because I purposefully looked through the window of a parked car to see what time I was on the bike. The plan was to push it today and try to get to work in under an hour on my single speed.

Well, it actually took an hour and 30 min. I wish I could say it was because there was a 25mph head wind, or that I was fatigued from some epic night I had; instead, it was because I had to exchange info. with a driver that hit me. It happened fast and was over in about 15-20 sec., but it was loud and shocking for all who witnessed it. As I look back, it must have been an interesting picture for bystanders: a girl who just got hit hard by a car casually gets up, grabs her bike, and then picks up the mangled side-view mirror that tore off with impact, slings it under arm and walks toward the sidewalk where the car that hit her is stopped - crazy. I remember looking around the intersection (2nd & Jackson, which is probably the busiest intersection in Pioneer Square with a mix of people, bus, and biker traffic) and seeing people standing still with dropped jaws. It was all very surreal - I had stopped traffic, I had stopped people, I had basically paused motion and color. It was pretty creepy, and I swear I didn't hit my head, so no hallucinating was involved. I asked the first person I saw if he witnessed the accident; when he spoke all color and motion started up again.

Fortunately (but really unfortunately), I have been hit a couple times before, so as soon as I got up I went into "get everyone's information mode." At the curb I asked the first guy if he saw it: "Yes, it happened so fast I don't know whose fault it is." First witness taken care of. Next, the driver: his hands were shaking when I handed him my business card; he kept knocking on the passengers window, yelling, "unlock the door, unlock the door." The passenger, meanwhile, was stunned and just staring forward for about 20 sec. until he finally flicked the lock. While we were exchanging info. a woman walks by my bike, bag, and the destroyed side-view mirror and says, "that girl has a sticker on her bag that say, 'Ride a F***ing Bike' - that is so awesome!" and then she walked away. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, "What the heck?"

So, the driver and I parted ways and my bike seemed undamaged; I hopped back on and analysed the collision for the next 19 miles. I realized that I set myself up for some type of challenge as soon as I looked at the clock at 6:24am (I never look at the time that intently when I leave). I wasn't just "riding to work today," I was going to push my commute time; I was going to break a personal record. But really, I am just "riding to work" and that is how I should think about riding in the mornings.

Be safe, be prepared, and make sure you mount your bike with the right thoughts and attitude for every ride.



Dr. Logan said...

Intense. Glad you're okay. Hope everything works out.

Ross said...

Hey, Carey. S'good to hear you and bike made it through undamaged, and that you continued on to work.

Something must be in the air this week. I took my bike the <1 mile to my office this morning and had three -- count 'em, three -- near-incidents with sleepy motorists. WTF?!

CS-H kemyooter said...

Hey doc...thanks for the words - we will see how everything manifests in regards to the logistics surrounding a mirror being broken off.

ross...thanks for the concerned words as well. I was extremely happy that my bike only ended up with a chewed up bar end plug.

I will have to agree with you, I think there are strange spirits in the air this week. Although, on the ride home tonight I had a turn of luck. I was riding under some electrical wires where a crow was hanging out and as I passed under him he decided to let loose a huge dollop of s***. Ahh...but he just missed me! I laughed and said to myself out loud - my luck must be turning and pedaled home with a bit of a smile.


Rob said...

Wow! Glad your alright'ish after taking a hit like that. I've definetly had those stopped-life moments but I dont' usually wig out till a few hours afterwards.


Fritz said...

I knocked a mirror off of a car once in heavy city traffic. I was about 13 years old. I stopped and handed the mirror to the stunned driver through the open passenger window while I apologized while my friends all laughed at me. I didn't know what else to do so I took off.

Glad you and your bike are okay. The two times I've been hit by a car also resulted in no injuries for me, though in one case (a custom built bike) the bike was destroyed.

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

SO glad you are "ok". That sucks, but you had the best possible outcome.

My story wasn't quite as good;

Anyway, what I mean is- glad you are ok. Always be aware of what is going on around you... because you rest assured that most other folks aren't.

James said...

Like everyone else, I am glad you are OK. It sounds strange, but sometimes it is hard to tell if you are hurt immediately after the accident while your adrenaline is rushing. A car hit me about 15 years ago and my arm popped out of its socket as I hit the front quarter panel. It seemed to go back in and I felt OK, so I got the drivers info and rode home (amazingly the bike was absolutely fine). About a half hour later I lost feeling in my arm and had to go to the hospital. Luckily, the paralysis was temporary, but the tendons were stretched and the nerves were damaged, so I ended up in a sling for several months. I am kind of rambling here, but my point is to always get information before leaving even if everything seems OK. I probably should have talked to witnesses like you did, but for some reason I was in a big hurry to just get home.

Fritz said...

I knocked a mirror off a car once. I was 12 and it was my fault. Glad you're okay. Cool about the girl who stopped and commented. Isn't this something like your third collision this year?