Dear Dude on the Bike:
Whew! That was a close one. I was really happy I didn't turn you into roadkill. At first, anyway.
I ride a bike, too. Back in the day when I first moved back to Los Angeles a bike was, for about a year and a half, my primary form of transportation. You think you have a tough go of it here in Minneapolis? Hell, you've got bike lanes that never end up here. In LA those bike lanes (what few exist) are generally viewed as special lanes for really skinny cars or for people driving SUVs who like to think that monolith they're piloting has amazing shrinking properties. So, I know all about drivers who don't much care about those of us using pedal power.
While I was glad I didn't turn you into a pancake when I turned right on 15th Street and attempted to tell you that, I couldn't help but notice that you seemed quite agitated. I'm not sure if it was the just short of a Stroke red your face turned, the incomprehensible screaming, or the way spit kept flying out of your mouth...or maybe the wild gesticulations. Or maybe it was the rather impolite comments on my lineage and my sexual proclivities (for the record: mom and dad were married when I was concieved and I've never done anything like that with a donkey).
Here's the thing...when you're riding your bike you kinda gotta make up your mind up front as to whether you are a pedestrian or a vehicle. It makes a huge difference. I am not one of those militant cyclists that thinks that anyone on a bike has to be big and brave and ride in the middle of the road 'cause you have just as much right to the road, dammit! You prefer banging down the sidewalk, be my guest. BUT...when you're blasting along at, say, 12-15 mph on the sidewalk and I'm making a perfectly legal turn in my car and give my glance over towards the sidewalk to ensure I don't vehicular manslaughter a pedestrian right off the map, I'm generally assessing whether or not someone clipping along at 3-4mph (which is what someone walking at a really good pace is clocking...you'll note this is 3-5 times slower than you were going...on your bike...on the sidewalk) is approaching the intersection. When you're blasting along the sidewalk at 5x that rate of speed, I don't even see your ass until said ass is about to fly into the path of my car.
Much like today.
When you did just that.
Here's an interesting factoid about automobiles that you apparently don't know. They are not limited to, by mechanics or law, traveling only in straight lines. They do wonderfully unpredictable things like...um...turn. Really. Shameless 90 degree directional changes. While I understand that you believe the event was entirely my fault, it's kind of strange you didn't know this about cars. You know those flashing lights they have on the front and back? Okay, when those cute little things are blinking on one and only one side of the car, it means the car is preparing to turn. In that direction. It's, like, a warning, a signal if you will, that this event will take place at the next viable opening.
See, if you had been blasting along on the road at 15mph I would have known you were there and either:
- Would not have turned until you passed, or
- You would have simply gone around me on the side to which I was not turning.
Or if you had decided that since you were on the sidewalk (the very name of which gives a clue to what the expected activity is) you would proceed as a pedestrian which would have meant that, yes, in that crosswalk you would have the right of way but, more important you would not have gotten anywhere close to that sidewalk while I was turning through it, 'cause you woulda been going way slower (see above: I believe we established roughly 5x slower) and this near death experience of yours would not have happened.
Nonetheless, I do feel like I owe you an apology. I found myself growing less concerned about your well being as your tirade continued. Which I know isn't very Christian of me. And, you gotta admit, the thing about me and the donkey was maybe a little rude. And I am sorry that I more or less threw your bike at you instead of handing it to you after I picked it up and the reference to how that nasty scrape on your leg (road rash in your vernacular) couldn't have happened to a nicer guy...well, that was a little snippy of me.
But I swear that after I picked your bike up and then dropped it...that was just me being clumsy not because I found it a good alternative to hitting you in the head with it. And then when I picked it up again and, oops, stumbled and my foot landed right on that spoke and broke it? Sometimes I'm just a guy with two left feet.
'Least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.