I was hit by a car today. Lightly, but it was still scary because it could have been a lot worse. A livery car driver decided he just had to pull over when I was next to him, so without checking his mirror, he pulled over right into me. Maybe I wouldn’t mind, but I was hit by a car two years ago. And have had close calls since then.
The picture? That’s from when I wasn’t lucky enough to get hit by a slow-moving car, and got to learn the joys of not being able to bathe myself, not being able to walk and then spending months learning how to do those things again. So, in the interest of my own desire to keep living and not being paralyzed, here are some tips to drivers on how not to kill me with your cars, since my experience and this study about pedestrian collisions show you don’t know how to do that.
1. Pay attention. Just fucking pay attention. Wanna pull over to the curb? Use your goddamn mirror, and signal, instead of just drifting your way over and assuming I’m a mind reader who knows what you’re about to do. Double parked and pulling out without looking? Jesus Christ, don’t do that, because that’s what caused that picture above to happen. Remember, that you’re in control of a two-ton machine capable of snuffing someone’s life out at any second. The person riding bike next to you on the street, i.e., me? You might be surprised to learn I don’t suddenly sprout armor when you come speeding at me. All I do is slide thirty feet on the asphalt and bleed all over your fender and the street.
2. Want to drive or park in the bike lane? Here’s a good idea: don’t. You have an entire street. We have a 10-inch strip that’s theoretically meant to keep us out of your business. So why, after narrowly avoiding breaking more bones thanks to a livery cab driver, did I see a yellow cab decide to cruise down the Grand Street bike lane as if he’d miraculously discovered a second lane in the street? Because he’s a sociopath, presumably. The bike lane is not for cars. It’s not a place to park. That’s why it’s called a “bike lane” and not a car lane. Or a parking lot. Parking there forces me into the busy street where more lunatics drive and increase the odds that I end up with another ridiculous scar on my back.
3. Put bumpers on your car. Yeah, you already have a bumper, except it’s actually a fender. I’m talking bumpers like in bumper bowling. Because you’re clearly not going to stop trying to murder me, so how about putting something soft on the outside of your vehicle so that when you do hit me I just bounce off your car relatively unscathed instead of really, really, traumatically scathed and spend months trying to learn how to walk again.
4. Stop driving your goddamn car. It must be tough to be a driver in Brooklyn. Because apparently when you get behind the wheel of a car, you turn into a complete sociopath, and a blind one at that. How else to explain the fact that a new study shows 44 percent of pedestrians struck by cars are hit in crosswalks? And that hit-and-runs are still a common occurrence? And that you honk at each other when there’a a dead body in the middle of the street and the police are trying to clean it up? It’s beautiful out, and you’re probably driving two miles. Walk to a subway station, or just walk where you want to go. Oooh, or get a bike. Bikes are great and keep you in shape.
5. In fact, just burn your car. If you don’t do it, I will. I swear, I will have vengeance. I’ll spend the next ten years training like fucking Batman just so I can come swoop in the dead of night and destroy the two-ton deathmobile that you use so carelessly.
These aren’t that hard to do. I know, because I’ve driven a car before and I didn’t murder anyone. So stop fucking hitting me with your cars. I don’t know you and haven’t done anything to you. Stop. Hitting me. With your car you. You evil motherfuckers.
Follow Dave for more rage at cars @HerbertHarper
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In these kinds of rants you gotta mention the work Transportation Alternatives does.
Get well soon, Dave! Be safe out there. Lot of crazy assholes in metal death machines.
I was hit today to! what a coincidence!
Hey, in the unlikely event that the recent arrival from Kazakhstan who smeared your midwestern hipster behind doesn’t spend his time reading hip webpages, how about you 1.) Don’t ride your bike in a highly urban city (you’re an adult for god sake), 2.) Understand that if you do you are taking your life in your own hands in the way a Gazelle does when it decides to stroll around the Serengeti and don’t blame the Lion for eating you.
3/10, bad trolling. Except for this, “Don’t ride your bike in a highly urban city (you’re an adult for god sake).” Excellent non-logic
I bike around in Brooklyn all the time but I have to sympathize with drivers because I drive too.
Look, drivers spend a lot of energy looking out for the BIG stuff – traffic, hidden signs, obstacles and law abiding pedestrians. Add to that mix, cyclists that often cut in and out of traffic and generally don’t go with the flow of car traffic which becomes very unnatural for driver to see them or avoid them because it can cause larger accidents. Add to that, many cyclists for the sake of looking cool, do not wear proper protection and have an attitude of fair treatment on the road (I’m guilty of this at times) but the reality is, it’s really dangerous out there and you should understand that it’s you that’s going to get hurt if you get hit by a car so it’s best to be extremely careful on your end because there isn’t a whole lot more drivers can do.
In short, nobody wants to hit anyone and it’s absolutely juvenile and selfish to ask drivers not to drive. Do a better job at protecting yourself and respect what happens on the road.
All interesting points. Except that I was wearing a helmet and was going with the flow of traffic and this person who hit me was clearly not paying attention. Shrugging, saying “Well, it’s dangerous out there” and telling cyclists to just deal isn’t an answer.
Drivers are the ones who can kill people, so the onus should be on them. How am I supposed to “protect myself” from someone who doesn’t signal? Drives in the bike lane? From someone who doesn’t look before opening a door? Doesn’t look before pulling out into the road? All these things have been to me and countless other people on bikes. And I’M the juvenile and selfish one?
You were obviously not at fault in this situation. Unrelated to you specifically, I do find it frustrating when I see cyclists do go through red lights or the wrong way down a one way because it gives the rest of us a bad rep (as I’m sure drivers may feel similarly when they get criticized). I’d also like to publicly out Girls star Alex Karpovsky for being a one-way wrong-way cyclist–you aren’t above the law, Alex!
Yes, and I’m sure you and other bicyclists are just as considerate of those on the next lower level of the food chain, the pedestrian (snark). Oh, no really? How many times has a bicycle blown through a red light and run up on the sidewalk? How man pedestrians have been smeared by some maniac trying to relive their tween years?
You are right Greg! What this city needs is more cars on the roads and more people crammed in subway trains & buses. Why, just yesterday I was riding my bike when I spot a truck just sitting on the side of the street blowing exhaust into the air when I thought to myself, “Man…… we need some more of that!” Well, I tried to think that, but all the damn cars honking their horns at the stifled traffic interrupted my thoughts…. well, you get the point. Totally burning my bike if effigy this weekend.
Ooo, wait, no… I think I get it! If we have more cars, then more pedestrians will be killed in cross walks, then we’ll have less people, and then we’ll have more space to drive our cars? BRILLIANT!
That truck was contributing to the economy of the city by delivering the goods you midwestern hipsters consume. How do you think those PBR’s you ironically drink make it to Billyburg? They aren’t delivered by bicycle.
In related news, almost got hit by a motorcyclist today because he didn’t look DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HIM while being stopped at the stop sign…because apparently you only have to stop for cars, not pedestrians.
So the message is clear, isn’t it? While we are all responsible for the safety of our cities, it is much more basic than that: we have a duty to be aware and conscious of our surroundings. Simple as that. Too many tragedies like yours happen because people can’t (won’t) spare the energy to pay attention.
I’m very sorry about your accident but as a general note – people walk like assholes in East Williamsburg/Williamsburg. I commute by car and I know that once I pass a certain street I can’t go faster than 25 and have to be at 110% concentration. This is not out of consideration for pedestrians so much as concern I’ll hit someone who is not properly crossing the street. I mean this literally – once I get out of Maspeth and into East Williamsburg 95% of people I see in the street are not at a crosswalk AND don’t have the light. I’m not saying you did this, I’m just saying his as a PSA to pedestrians. Cars weigh a ton, literally. I don’t understand why you would jut dart out in front of them when you feel like it.
how fast do you go in maspeth? 25 is only 5 miles below the city speed limit. I think you can deal. and I guess be glad you don’t have to drive in manhattan, cause those walkers don’t give a shot about lights.
thank you! im the victim of a pretty severe pedestrian-vehicle hit n’ run in brooklyn. really drivers, it is not that hard to NOT HIT someone! im from california where i had a car and drove for 5 years. NEVER HIT ANYONE!
If the average biker weren’t so goddamn obnoxious I might feel sympathy. I drive, considerately, obeying laws, checking before I pull over, etc and I can’t tell you how many obnoxious as fck bikers have punched my car, darted into intersections on green lights, ran stop signs…guess what? Cars have as much of a right to the road as bikers, assholes. I walk sometimes I drive sometimes. Sue me. The rant would’ve been fine without the self righteous “why do you even own a car?” Bullshit. Ten to one whatever crypants wrote this isn’t even from ny. See ya on the road dickhead! Oh and bikers can easily cause accidents too moron.
A solution that is almost never mentioned in these online squabbles is that if bicyclist are to obey traffic laws, when there is no bike lane, just take up the whole lane and stay behind the car in front of you and in front of the car behind you. That way, you’ll always be seen and no one can veer over and hit you while you’re in their blind spot. If the author was in a bike land at the time, well, then that is shitty and he has the right to be pissed but if not the safest legal solution is to TAKE UP THE WHOLE DAMN LANE.
I still can’t really figure out why people on bikes decided that cruising as far to the right as you can on the road between moving cars and parked cars is even remotely an option. The only reason bicyclist do this is because they are being nice to take their life into their own hands to let cars pass them. Well, stop its, F#$^ the cars and do like I said, TAKE UP THE WHOLE LANE because it’s your right and it’s the safest option.
the city needs more muscle cars…and muscle bikes
I agree, but cyclists really need to stop traveling the wrong way on one way streets if they are going to get pissed at me for not seeing them. FYI, i don’t drive, I am talking about when I am walking.