I am a lucky idiot. Today, I had my baptism into a common world for bikers. I got doored. That's when a driver in a parked car doesn't look and opens their door right in front of a bicyclist. It's pretty dangerous, and can lead to some bad injuries. I was very lucky, and am pretty much fine. My bike only needs ~$120 of work (which is much lower than I thought.)
I was riding up a narrow street in Alameda, with a pickup truck following close behind me. I was looking back and forth, but didn't even notice the car of this woman, until the door came out right in front of me. I went over the handlebars, and miraculously landed on my back and my ass. This is amazing, because I had committed a cardinal sin. I didn't wear a helmet.
Every biker has had the thought. I was just riding a few blocks to the burrito place, I'll skip the helmet. In fact, ever since my only other serious back accident (where I was not wearing a helmet, but once again got lucky – although my ankle never healed right..) I have been judicious about wearing a helmet for almost all rides. Lately I had been slipping on short rides on the island. That won't happen again. Always wear a helmet kids.
The scariest part of this whole experience was the sound of the pickup behind me slamming on it's brakes. It was close enough that if I had flown a little shorter distance I could have been run over. I took a second to gather myself, and stood up to try & find my glasses (which had gone about 10 feet ahead of me.) The weird part was I could tell right away that I wasn't seriously injured, and yet it looked to others like I was dead. One lady told me that from the noise and watching me fly through the air she was sure I had been killed.
One sublime bit of humor in all this. As I lay dazed on the ground, a lawyer friend of mine comes running up, asking if I am ok, and saying that he saw everything. The crash happened right outside his house. Luckily, his services were not needed, and the woman is paying for the repairs to my bike. I'm not interested in a pound of flesh, and I don't feel the need to make an example of her. I just want my bike fixed. And for my ass to stop hurting.
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