2009/03/23

Use your mirror



While I ride the busy streets of Montreal almost everyday throughout the year, I'm either pretty lucky or experience made me develop a second sense to stay away from idiots, confused and/or people who obviously never learned how to behave on streets. Be on the lookout for my next book about motorists psychology. Every now and then though, I let my guards down just a fraction of a second too long.

Saturday as I was heading toward Mont-Royal to start my last training ride of a training block, sun was shining, air was feeling nice against my face... then I got the classic car door opened in the face. It's not the first time and I'm getting pretty good at seeing these things coming by looking into parked cars through their windows or even side mirrors... but when the left side lane with moving traffic decided to throw me a Honda Civic door, I admit I didn't expect it at all.

You know people who quickly push the door open in a fast swing until it almost bounce back when reaching the full open positions? That's the one. First thing you know, I'm stopped, my bike is bouncing back from hitting a parked current year model Mercedes and a french guy still very deep into the car seat on my left is making excuses... My chest is almost stuck on the top edge of the door. A quick check-up: hands are okay, knees, elbows, upper chest hurts a little but not too much. Now my bike: chain is dropped, left hand brake lever is pointing down and backward but it only twisted around the bar. Then I take a look at the 100,000$ Benz, tire marks left on the dirty front fender but nothing else. Then the car I hit... I couldn't see any damage before the guy finally came out and a woman who saw the impact from the sidewalk came to check on me... No damage, the French guy hopefully learned to look before getting out into traffic, a little lever repositioning and shifting and I'm on my way.

Had a nice ride after that, climbed a very muddy, wet, trail with very slick ice and dry snow, legs felt a bit tired but still had some good power to do the whole climb in my big ring, then a few loops in similar conditions, then head back down the mountain on my quest for climbs... Did 2H20 minutes before stopping with wet and cold feet.

I only remembered the car door when I got home and took off my Camlebak. By looking at the swelling and bruising across my chest, I took the impact just below the collarbones, my right side getting the door corner where most of the damage and pain is. The area still hurts two days later but I can move well, I can't feel anything wrong with my collarbone or top ribs by touch so I guess I'm probably just going to have a nice hue shift. Now time to recover this week: legs and chest.

A door might not seem too harmful and I'm fine but just a few meters from where I crashed, a young girl died last summer: a door opened, she hit it, landed on the pavement just in front of a moving car and got run over. So I'd like to say something to everyone that use roads, cycling paths, sidewalks, be it in cars, on a bike or by foot... Look around, you are not alone. It's pretty impressive how some seem to not take into account all the dangers they are putting themselves and others into by not looking around them. Do your blind angles before turning, use your mirrors, look if it's clear before opening your door, don't ride your bike against the traffic, don't walk in cycle paths (especially if you have your iPod and look at the sky), don't cross the street just anywhere in the middle of congested streets, use your turn signals... just be aware that you are not the only one out there.

3 comments:

electric said...

I know, it's a drag and it ruins your sunny day when you have to call the police and get involved in "the system" but, really, despite how nice these drivers are to your face after they've hit you or run you over they're not going to think twice about doing it again if you absolve them by simply going on your way.

Maybe I'm wrong, but after having people scream at me to "get off the fucking road" and being patted on the back and told "you're fine" after being hit my attitudes have really changed. I've realized people won't have any respect or accommodate you unless you're willing to stand by your rights. Even if you think it's just a small mistake, remind yourself those mistakes are the most insidious and can cost people dearly.

So please, i suggest next time you take it more seriously.

Having said all that, I hope you feel better soon!

Dan Gerous said...

He was the passenger though but I see your point... I just wanted to be on my way and ride my bike I guess, adrenaline kicked in and it might have been better for everyone that I left... no need to show what my name stands for.

Anonymous said...

you're "DanGerous"