I got hit on Bike to Work Day

21May10

After eight years of commuting by bike, I got hit by my first car today, Bike to Work Day. I’m fine, by the way.

I came to a stop at a T intersection. I positioned myself in the cross walk because I like to be as far out as possible so everybody sees me. A Blazer approached from the right with its left turn signal on. It slowed to let the opposing traffic clear. I waited, knowing the Blazer was going to turn into the lane next to me. Instead, after the traffic cleared, the guy in the Blazer turned and drove head on into my front wheel.

He got out of his car and was very apologetic. He even offered me $40 for the damage, which was kind and unexpected. But the worst part was what he said: “I didn’t even see you.”

That’s never a valid excuse for a driver. If you’re piloting two tons of glass and steel, you are responsible for seeing everything in your path. It’s a crime that our laws don’t automatically fault drivers in these situations the way Dutch laws do (and that’s one reason they have the safest roads in the world).

But what was especially incredible about his not seeing me is that I couldn’t have been more nakedly visible. It was quarter to 8 in the morning, clear, 70 degrees and sunny. I was stationary and had been before he approached the intersection. On top of that, he was turning into the wrong lane.

He said he’d been watching the kids on the corner to be sure they didn’t dart out when he made his turn. He instead hit the one person who was actually in the road.

It happened slowly. It was no big deal, thankfully. He couldn’t have been going more than 8mph and he was already braking when he ran into my wheel. The Blazer just rolled up on it and the bike stayed where it was. The wheel is tacoed, but not so much that I couldn’t limp the rest of the way into work. It’ll cost a lot more than $40 to have it rebuilt though.

I’m out on my bike everyday, so this was bound to happen, but the irony here is pretty much unavoidable. It reminds me of the Transport for London ad campaign from a few years back, only this time I was the bear.

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5 Responses to “I got hit on Bike to Work Day”

  1. 1 Sarah

    i’m so glad you were okay…can we see a picture of the tacoed wheel!?

    • 2 Matt

      I took a picture before I dropped it off to be rebuilt, but you can’t really tell that it’s bent. It’s enough that the wheel is ruined, but not so much that I couldn’t get to work and then home again. Shades of the TriBoro Tour!

  2. Oh snap! Glad to hear you’re ok, but what a douche! Man, I would be happy to live in a world where cars didn’t exist. The dude who is standing stock still on a tiny bike has to get out of the way of the giant, man-crushing truck? Unreal.

    • 4 Matt

      That world is out there. It’s called the Netherlands.

  3. 5 sara

    Glad you are OK. Glad your wheel can be rebuilt.

    Not to make light of this but I totally misread your post title. I somehow read “I Got Hit On AT BTW Day”– thinking someone fell for you and your bike at a BTW day event….


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