07 October 2009



frakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrakfrak, batch-horse COUNT!


Those words, sanitized for my parents' sensitivities, comprised a few of my early thoughts, some spoken aloud, others not, as this morning, for the first time ever, after having biked in SF since '91, and less than a month after getting my first new bike since '93, I plowed into a car door, swinging open in my path.

A quick survey of joints and bones suggests nothing's broken. I've got a nasty laceration in my right ring finger 2nd knuckle (assuming knuckles are counted starting from the tip... oh yeah, I guess it's the 2nd either way. Okay, I'm a little shaken up), but I can't see any bone peeking out in there. So, I cleaned it up and put on a butterfly closure, a Band-Aid, and a splint for good measure (prob'ly unnecessary, but it'll elicit sympathy and maybe generate awareness of checking your goddamn side view mirror, even tho' she says she did; plus, I get to complain about how hard it is to type, and I'm always scouring for misbegotten reasons to complain).

My right bar end got twisted around, but everything else seems normal on the bike. I'll try to drop it off at the Basement today, and get it checked out, since I haven't even had my introductory tune-up yet.

So, in short: lots of initial shock, but fairly minor injuries all around. I didn't even manage to leave a decent scratch on her door. But, man--for those first few "fraks", I thought for sure I'd broken my hand.

Oh yeah: this happened just after turning east on Mission, from S. Van Ness, exactly where last month, the front cog of my old bike spat a few teeth into the street--leading to my finally splurging on a new bike, after all these years. Something good may ultimately come of this dooring incident, too, but just the same, I think I'll avoid that intersection from now on.

UPDATE: Joyce, the woman behind the door that crossed my path, could not have been more laudably upstanding in the wake of the accident.

On friends' advice, I visited a police station that night to ask about filing a report. I was told that unless there was physical injury involved, so long as all parties were in agreement about liability, and co-operative, there was no need to report anything. I fwd'd this info to Joyce, and she replied that, as a city biker herself, with bruises to show for it, colon small-p emoticon, she'd do whatever was necessary to get me back on wheels as soon as possible. In fact, her email saying as much, scrolled across the Blackberry while I was out with the Thursday night boys. I read it aloud when I saw it, and she got a standing ovation for her exemplary citizenship. There were even murmurs about blind date set-ups.

I'd taken the bike back to the shop, after nursing my wounds and tapping out the above, and only then did I inspect it closely enough to see a huge dent on the underside of the down tube, necessitating a replacement frame. It took a long time (weeks) to get all that sorted out, between Sports Basement and Jamis, the bike manufacturer, but in the end, the replacement frame cost $180, which Joyce took care of immediately.

Now, a month and half after the accident (is that all? Seems it's been ages!), the bike's like new, although it's a different color, and I haven't gotten around yet to painting my name, in place of Jamis (as on the original, dented frame). The scar on my finger is nearly invisible, although it still feels a little tight when I flex it. I can still feel small lumps on the bones in a couple of places on my hand, but I think they're diminishing; and the huge bruises I had on my right shoulder and thigh have completely dissipated.

I wouldn't necessarily want to do any of this again, but if you absolutely have to run your bike into a car door this year, make it Joyce's. No, wait--that would be unkind to Joyce, whose selfless concern should instead be rewarded, and held up for door swingers everywhere. Joyce: you are no batch-horse count, not in the least, and until such day as all urban vehicles' doors are mounted with Teflon™ ramps, diverting all bikes harmlessly around them, I hope you are never so grossly inconvenienced as to have a bike slam unceremoniously into your station wagon's wings. You are a model for city drivers the world over, and should be held unscathed forever, by bikers reckless and not--for the good which you have shown me is a beacon unto righteous living in our overcrowded metropolis. Thank you for your kindness. I regret that it had to cost you at all, and I'm glad it didn't cost either of us any more than it has.

No comments: