May 2012: Another bike accident

This morning on the bicycle ride to work, a taxi cab cut into my lane on the far right side of Seventh Ave outside Penn Station. The cab hit the left front of my bicycle, which skidded out from under me as I slid forward about 10 feet. I quickly stood and began cursing out the cabby: “What the hell are you doing?! Don’t you watch where you’re driving!? You could have killed me!” His response: “The road is for cars. What are you doing bicycling in the road?” My response: “You’re kidding me? Look at the angle of your vehicle, you’re halfway into my lane, you were obviously turning into me.” His response: “You hit me. This is the lane for cars.”

Two cops heard us yelling in the middle of the street. They asked if I needed an ambulance but I said it wasn’t necessary (I knew that I didn’t need the associated waste of time and money). They took our licenses and wrote up an accident report. I’m considering pressing charges on the chance that I can get the cabby’s license revoked, or get him to pay for my bicycle damages. The handlebars are bent up and the brakes are out of whack.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0FM6WRHDuxg/T749X0uhR2I/AAAAAAAAADY/tevC5u55MH4/s640/bike%2520injury.JPGIt’s quite the scene when you limp into work with a bloody arm. At left is a photo my coworker Hema snapped this morning. My throat is hoarse from yelling at that cabby.

I do hate this unnecessarily dangerous nature of bicycling New York City. This is my third accident in two weeks. Last night another car clipped me and bent up my crank (luckily I didn’t fall off the bike).

More seriously, this morning’s fall aggravated an injury from two weeks ago when I was pedaling up Sixth Avenue past 35th Street near Herald Square and another yellow taxi made a hard left into my bike-only lane to pick up a flagging pedestrian. A white van behind the taxi braked hard. My front tire hit its bumper, and I flew off the bike and rammed shoulder-first in the van’s rear left door. It was even more difficult to stop because my bicycle was loaded up with two saddlebags and I was wearing a backpack, which gave me even more momentum. The door dented in and the glass shattered.

Somehow, I landed on my feet. A cop got out of the van — it was an unmarked police vehicle. The driver checked on me as his partner chased down the taxi, who was already a block away at the next red light. A crowd circled. More cops came to check out the scene. The goofed about what might have happened had I hit the van head-first, since I wasn’t wearing a helmet. An ambulance arrived 30 minutes later and convinced me to get my shoulder checked at the hospital. “You put a good dent in that van, man,” said the medic. “Probably want to get that checked out. If your shoulder hurts now, it’ll hurt more later.”

A police car escorted my ambulance to Bellevue Hospital on the lower east side, and then an officer followed me around the hospital for three hours while I got an x-ray. He acted all concerned, taking notes and double-checking my story to be sure I wasn’t blaming the police for the accident or framing a lawsuit against the NYPD. When the doctor came back and said nothing was broken, the special police treatment immediately ended. It was raining outside, my bicycle loaded with gear, my left shoulder was in terrible pain, and STILL the officer refused to even give me a ride to the subway station! I pedaled one-handed five miles through the rain and slippery Manhattan streets all the way home.

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