It happens to all of us, even Streetsblog writers. Two years ago, Kris was doored on his way to a story. Sahra’s written about how too many people don’t report crashes, and she’s had some close calls of her own.
Yesterday was my turn.
Riding my bicycle on Pico Blvd. going east between Overland and the really hilly section a driver buzzed so close to me (note: the lane to his left was empty) that I veered right…right into an opening car door that was opened inches in front of me. As I struggled to maintain balance, another car buzzed me and this time I toppled over onto my right side into an empty parking space directly in front of the Beverly Hills Bike Shop.
I probably terrified the woman in the car. To be fair, I doubt she was at fault. I came at her at a funky angle after reacting to the “Jerry Browning.” Frustrated, scared and filling up with adrenaline I took my helmet off and slammed it into the ground as Gunpowder clattered itself on the asphalt and I walked to the sidewalk. A 6’2 guy acting erratically after a high-stress incident probably seemed like something from another planet to this elderly woman who was gripping her steering wheel and staring at me.
As I was limping around and checking my legs (bruised, minor cuts, swelling in my heel and shin), and bringing my bike and helmet to the sidewalk, she came over to see if I needed help…and admonish me for treating my helmet so poorly. English was not her first language, she had an eastern European accent, and we struggled to communicate. She was extremely apologetic, even though I still don’t think it was really her fault. I did show her how fast cars travel on the street and the narrow space cyclists have to ride. She promised to think of me every time she opened her door and double check. We high-fived (her idea) and she stayed with me until I rode away.
I didn’t get any information on the person who actually caused the crash, the driver who decided to whip past me without giving proper space. My first thought was staying upright and by the time I fell and got back up he/she was long gone. I can’t even tell you the make, model, or color of the car. I’m a pretty lousy witness. Read more…