door prize

26 05 2009

Alyssa, originally uploaded by dude britneeee.


I have been in a running debate regarding road usage, sharing and urban planning for the past couple weeks as cycling season really sets in.

One thing that I consider myself to be very fortunate for is that I have never been seriously injured by an accident involving a car or truck. I’ve had my fair share of close calls, been bumped, pushed into curbs, cursed at, but luckily have never ended up with a broken bone or concussion.

However, the one time I did end meeting a door for an intimate one on one moment, it was slightly different than expected.

I was travelling down University Avenue on my bmx en route to do some quick banking at the corner of Front St. It was about noon, maybe later but no later than 2 so there was definitely some congestion on University. Not something that should surprise anyone. My bmx is/was brakeless so when I rode in traffic, I was always very cautious and slowed down WAY before I anticipated any potential problems.

Before someone harps on me for the whole brakeless thing, let me just say that I could stop on a dime with that bike and I rode more defensively as a result of my “handicap” so it did not make me reckless or stupid to ride a bike like that.

So I am passed on the left side by a delivery truck that appears to be coming to a stop soon. I immediately slow myself down in anticipation of this driver getting out of his truck or cutting me off to park since there is no actual bike lane on University Ave.

The truck comes to a stop close to the Canada Life building and I stopped near it’s back end to allow the driver to get out, thus attempting to avoid the infamous “door prize”. I see the door open, then close about 30 seconds later. I took this to mean that the driver had seen me and was allowing me to pass.

Sadly, this was not the case. When I passed on the left side of the truck, the driver opened his door which was right in line with my face and chest and I was knocked to the ground. This is where it gets interesting. I obviously became incensed and was cursing and yelling at the driver who was walking towards the sidewalk as though I was an inconvenience and not someone he had just been involved in an accident with.

Since he refused to acknowledge me, I moved closer to him and grabbed the sunglasses off his face and threw them to the ground. This might not have been the best idea, since seconds later I was greeted with a spin kick to the face. I’m not sure if this guy was crazy, having a shitty day, or a vigilante out to get cyclists but he definitely did not like my aggressive demands for his information and supervisor at the company he was currently working for while driving this delivery truck. Luckily, a woman in traffic was watching the whole event and she called me over to let me know she had seen everything and would be my witness.

I had one more verbal confrontation with this dude before I finally gave up and called his company and the police to deal with the red tape. I ended up getting repairs and new parts for my bike and free chiropractic and acupuncture for about 6 months after the incident due to sustaining mild whiplash and lots of muscle tears.

Nothing can prepare you for this type of fall except falling, so practice rolling on grass and protecting your head when you fall. Wear helmets, signal your turns and get a really loud horn or bell. It is definitely a “better safe than sorry” type of deal when you ride a bike, especially in this city.




3 responses

26 05 2009
Cory B.

Ahh, the goold ol’ door prize. I’ve always been extra careful about that one. Doesn’t really seem like too much fun, hha.

I’ll vouch for the being-able-to-stop thing. I have zero trouble at all.

26 05 2009

good story, but can you change the flick? I understand the effect, but can we not have faces of death-style pictures up on this piece? shit ruined my breakfast.

26 05 2009
jannx / aka jannx

I once went clear over a car when the driver slammed on his brakes for no apparent reason except to figure out a house for sale sign. At the same time he was braking I looked to my rear and left because a parked car was in the lane ahead of the car that unbeknown to me was braking hard. Half a second later I was over his car and onto his hood.

What gets me is this… most of us know how to drive a car and most also have ridden a bike. Wouldn’t you think that if I’m driving I could give consideration to a cyclist knowing what it’s like to be on two wheels and similarly wouldn’t the guys on bikes know what not to do in traffic since they have driven or been driven in other peoples cars?

Both cyclists and drivers know the drill, so why is this all getting ratcheted up? Someone is going to get hurt if there isn’t recognition of these basic realities.
(ps exclude a lot of cab drivers and couriers.. both are in their own worlds, which are focused on time and totally removed from other realities)

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