I was hit by a car this morning. A 40ish woman driving alone in a mid-size, black SUV, appropriately enough. I was crossing the west side highway at 14th St. on a crosswalk, with a walk signal. She was stopped so that her front bumper was at about the middle of the crosswalk. Normally, given the option, I’ll pass to the rear of a car rather than the front, but this was all that was open. She starts to move forward through the crosswalk as I’m passing in front of her. I see that she’s looking down at something, so I bang on her hood and she comes to a stop, but not before my bike has been sucked somewhat under her car, not under the tires, just the bumper.
I yell at her, pull my bike out, point out that she is driving through a crosswalk. She is startled and confused, but doesn’t roll down her window or apologize, and I’m pretty sure she’s more scared by what just happened than I am. I’ve said my piece, so I keep on my way.
If anyone doesn’t get why so many experienced city bikers have adopted an attitude of lawlessness, this is the reason. If the laws of the road aren’t going to protect me while I’m doing something as innocuous and law-abiding as crossing at a crosswalk with the walk signal, then I have absolutely no use for them. The only law I follow is that everything around me is a potential hazard, and that I must be constantly aware of as much as possible at all times. If this woman had the same attitude, she would have had her eyes on the road while her car was moving forward, and would have seen me before she hit me. Maybe this will be a good lesson for her. I didn’t get much out of it besides a sore knee and a good story.