The cyclist and the poor driver, an illustrated tale

My finger has now shrunk to a size that allows me to only hit one key at a time, although it still looks rather eggplant-like. Here’s the tale of how I got hit by a truck, complete with beautiful illustrations. I’m considering getting it published as a children’s book.

I was on my way down through campus heading out to the lake for a delightful swim, then planning on riding back. It would have been the perfect way to fit in 2 hours of bike riding and and an hour of swimming. However, as I was coming down the road between campus and the hospital, I noticed a truck turning left in front of me.

Truck #1 prepares to turn left

Truck #1 prepares to turn left

I noticed another truck behind it, and wondered if truck #2 had seen me, so I slowed down to give it room to turn if it was going to. Truck #2 stopped, so I decided that it had seen me and sped back up to about 15 mph.

Truck #1 turns.  Cyclist slows to make sure truck #2 has noticed her.

Truck #1 turns. Cyclist slows to make sure truck #2 has noticed her.

Cyclist speeds up as fast as possible to get past the truck and let it turn.

Cyclist speeds up as fast as possible to get past the truck and let it turn.

As I approached the truck, it suddenly turned left, on collision course with me. I clamped down on the brakes and swerved right to try and miss it, but no such luck.

Cyclist realizes the inevitable.

Cyclist realizes the inevitable.

I remember the moment of impact, then flying over the hood thinking This could have a poor outcome. Good thing I’m right in front of the hospital., then being on the ground, rather dazed. All the passers-by were yelling at me not to move and asking if I was ok. I didn’t answer them, because I had no idea whether I was ok or not. After assessing my situation, I decided that my fingers on my left hand had been crushed between my brake levers and the truck, but that they weren’t broken, just probably going to be very swollen. I thought I might have damaged my knee because it hurt a lot, but it turned out that it was actually the muscle right above the knee, which probably also hit the truck. My left elbow was a little skinned too. Really, I was in pretty good condition for having just been run over. (Please notice in the illustration my scrawney little arms and huge fat legs. This is actually a pretty good representation of my physique.)

Cyclist in relatively good shape, bike in great shape, unlike what is shown in the picture.

Cyclist in relatively good shape, bike in great shape, unlike what is shown in the picture.

My bike was also in surprisingly good condition. Guess that’s what happens when your body parts cushion the impact between the bike and the vehicle. I had to straighten out the handlebars and put the chain back on, but that was it. I considered continuing on my ride, but decided that I really ought to give the bike a thorough inspection before riding it and that I was pretty shaky, so called Ken to pick me up.

Police from the hospital were summoned, I exchanged contact information with the woman who hit me, and got her license plate number (She didn’t have insurance “with her”). Meaning she didn’t have it?? One lady who saw the whole thing insisted on giving me her business card as a witness. I’m not sure what the legal ramifications of the situation should be. The police came, and didn’t seem to care beyond the fact that we had exchanged information. This could be because they’re campus or hospital police, not actual city police who deal with this sort of thing.

Since I was not seriously hurt and there was no damage to property or anything, I was perfectly happy to let it go and not do anything official about it. But what if I had needed to go to the hospital? What if she was driving a Prius instead of a beat up Ford 4×4 and the entire plastic front end had to be replaced at great cost? What if she had continued to drive over my bicycle and destroyed it? The situation was obviously her fault, I was following the rules of the road (and even being cautious about it!), and she didn’t yield to me, so would her car insurance be responsible for damage? If so, would I have needed to file an accident report or something to get things rolling? Since it seems likely she (and most other drivers around here who would be likely to hit me) don’t have car insurance, can I get uninsured motorist insurance for my bike or something? I need to look into all of this.

Anyway, my helmet now has a big crack in it, so I need to purchase a new one before my triathlon this Saturday. I’m very thankful the rest of me and my bike are in good shape. Hopefully my finger continues to shrink and that swimming will be possible on Saturday.

Don’t get hit by a truck.


1 Response to “The cyclist and the poor driver, an illustrated tale”

  1. 1 Kim August 6, 2009 at 10:44 am

    OUCH! What is wrong with people that they’d just turn left out of nowhere like that?

    I’m glad you’re relatively okay though.

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