Posts tagged cycling
did you know I have a permanent bruise on my thigh? best feminist, right? in mid-2010 my body did something weird in the healing process from a bike crash and ever since then I’ve looked like I bumped into a table corner really hard a couple of weeks ago.
that bike crash was pretty bad in terms of injury but ultimately okay because it was totally my fault so I could just learn from it. this more recent one is pretty annoying. I thought experiencing one of my nightmare scenarios — car hits me with no warning from behind and I break my face/teeth — and ultimately being ok would make me less fearful?? not more?? this is because I am an idiot who doesn’t understand how brains work and maybe subconsciously thinks that something has to be political to be traumatising? here is a list of new paralysing fears I have, like actually consuming, almost-crying, fear:
- braking (because I tried to brake as I was hit)
- indicating (because it involves taking a hand off the handlebars and also I was indicating when I was hit and I hurt my hand badly)
- riding fast
- being overtaken (which it turns out happens a lot when you ride slowly, lolsob)
- any movement in my peripheral vision when I’m riding, including my own flashing bike lights
anyway, my point is, I’m working on getting past these but don’t make fun of me for making hook turns in busy intersections, ok, I’m really doing my best
ok also; I do think I was very lucky. but I was mumbling “oh, what a nice driver” when I found out that the driver had stayed on the scene and given his details and my best mate was like “no, he did the bare minimum”. she’s right, of course.
but in comparison he does seem really really nice. when I was in the emergency department one of the nurses told me there was another young female cyclist in the department who had been hit by a car, passed out, and when she came to it was gone and she was alone and hurt.
I couldn’t believe how awful that was. I mentioned that to my other friend who came to the hospital with me and she was like “yeah, that’s what happened to [mutual friend] — she was knocked off her bike and they just dragged her unconscious to the side of the road and she woke up alone hours later”.
after I was hit I assure you that I was in no state to start recording numberplates and thinking of who to sue. I just really badly needed someone to help me. I didn’t give a shit whose fault the crash was and I still kinda don’t. Even if your legal circumstances are really extreme, like you’re on the run from a murderously corrupt local police force or something, I don’t see why you wouldn’t at the very least call the ambulance once you were a safe distance away. I didn’t realise how common it is for drivers to just panic and leave. nice move.
I guess I have discovered my least controversial strongly held opinion: hit and run drivers are the lowest of the low.
well, you should see the other guy
late last night I got hit pretty hard by a car while I was on my bike. I was making a legal lane change, but the driver didn’t see me indicate and by the time I realised what was happening it was too late to get out of the way. it is a bit of a blur and I think I was knocked out for a little while. fortunately for me, my housemate and another friend happened to drive by as it was happening and took charge of the situation — they were incredible. I went into shock, my face was a bit mashed up, and I broke a front tooth, so the hospital ran a lot of tests, but it turns out that I’m otherwise fine. no fractures, no torn ligaments, no concussion even. being hit by a car, falling hard on my mouth, and breaking front teeth is a scenario that’s a persistent fear of mine and an intrusive mental image at times. what can I say, I have Teeth Anxieties and Very Reasonable Cyclist Anxieties. but the reality was not unbearable, and that is very comforting information to have, hopefully true of my other fears too. the worst part of the experience was actually wearing a neck brace for five hours while waiting to see if I had spinal damage.
if I had not been wearing a helmet I would have sustained a serious head injury and probably brain damage. even with a helmet, if the car had been moving even slightly faster or hit me more square on I would have been very badly injured; my bike is basically a write-off. because I live in a country with universal health care and am a citizen I am not financially liable for my trip to the emergency department. dental care is not generally covered by our healthcare system but people hurt in transport accidents get a few extra perks so I should be able to get my broken tooth capped for free. because I live with and near resourceful people who love me, who were immediately on the scene, I didn’t have to worry about being alone in the ambulance or at the hospital or afterwards. it was not a hit and run. I am so thankful for each of these strokes of very good undeserved fortune.
well, I guess the helmet thing was within my control. Please, please, please wear a helmet; I don’t care how good you are at staying out of crashes to begin with, everyone could use an extra safety precaution.
also, I hate to be one of those Bike People, but I have an Open Letter To, Seemingly, All The Car Drivers I Have Ever Shared The Road With
1. I am not legally required to use the bike lane if it is “impracticable to do so” or if it’s an off-road path (source)
2. As recognised by the law, there are times when it is inconvenient, dangerous, impossible, or illegal to use the bike lane, like when for example a truck is unloading there, or I’m turning right, or when there is no bike lane
3. If there was a usable bike lane you can be goddamn sure I would be riding in it because I like to stay as far away from you as possible
3a. (At this point I would like to extend a special fuck you to all the men who have nearly made me crash my bike by loud and startling catcalling, walking in front of my bike and waving at me, or trying to grope me through the open window of a car heading very fast in the opposite direction — incidentally, what did you imagine would happen if you succeeded there?)
4. In summary, please stop yelling at me for existing on the roads
5. You’re a dick