Mindless Drivers, Bike Riding and Getting License Plate Numbers

by on June 7, 2012

in consumer

Bicycle safety - Report those bad driversA few months ago, if any of you follow my personal FB account you know I was “hit” by a car while riding my bike through Menlo Park. In terms of “hit,” no, I was not run over or bounced off a fender. No, it was something more insidious. Here’s what happened.

Back in late February, I was headed to work and approaching a light… I had come alongside a gold, older 4-door Ford Taurus sedan and got alongside the elderly woman driving the car. I “knew” she saw me. How could she have not?

The light turned green and we went. She went faster, passed me and made a right turn. I had to hit my brakes to not get hit, but her right turn put her tires less then a few inches from the curb.

I had stopped in time to not get completely knocked over, but her right rear tire ended up catching my left foot and I had some tire rubber left on my left shoe after the incident. Also during the incident, I had issues fighting with my bike to keep it facing the direction I wanted it to, and not falling over. It was an awkward dance, to say the least.

When we rubbed tires, it was a very challenging event, but technically I did not fall over and all I had, seemingly, was a sore pinky toe. But tactically speaking, I also was so busy not getting crushed up into the curb and knocked over, I didn’t get her license plate number. To have attempted to do so would have meant stepping out into traffic, during lunch time, on a very busy intersection: El Camino Real & Ravenswood/Menlo in Menlo Park.

So I didn’t think anything came of it. Pinky toe not broken… bike in one piece. I’m fine. Ha… if only.

It’s now early June. For the last few months, I’ve been fighting sore muscles that for some reason, will not heal. I’ve been to the doctor and apparently, since these issues started after my meet-and-greet with that older gold Ford Taurus, these seem to have been caused by that event.

I had some stress fractures in my leg, but now I’m headed for an MRI of my left shoulder.

The moral of the story is that if you have an altercation with a car while on your bike and they drive away, do what you can to get the license plate or at least get a good description. Let your local police department know about the event.

I went in a few days later… I was given the “eye,” that says you’re a little late idiot. But it turned out that had I gone right in, it seemed that there were several calls about my incident to the police department.

Tire Marks on shoe from Car Hitting my Bike

I’m not sure what could be done by reporting a hit or stupid driving, but you should be aware that if you do report a license plate, though nothing may have come of reporting it, if that person exhibits repeat behavior, it will show when your report pops up in police records.

Plus, had I been able to identify her license plate, I’d be able to send her the bills for her stupid (!*!ing) driving. Well, to be honest, she needs to know so she can be more aware in the future.

Be alert out there gang and never assume they do see you. Get lights, reflectors and a suit of armor!!!

IRON MAN 3 Hall of ArmorTo be honest, I get into close calls enough that you really have to ride your bike with the mindset that this car that I can see does not see me. Since my altercation in February, that new mindset has avoided two other exciting events that might have ended even more tragically than my close call in February.

And as far as I’m concerned, don’t be afraid to slap your attacking car or let loose with a good yell. (Seriously… if they’re close enough to you that you can slap the fender, I’d think you have every right!)

Me, I want to buy a mobile cheapie tire pump to strap to my bike so I can use that to ward off idiot drivers. And trust me, there are some doozies!

I almost had a head-on collision with a car while I was up against the right curb of a two-way street. She had made a sweeping right turn off of a connector street. VERY SWEEPING. So anything is possible. Considering how I had my arm broken in a half a dozen places ten years ago by someone making a lane change, I had become just a little too complacent of late! This reminded me to stay on my toes… literally!


I would feel so much better if Tony Stark lent me one of his older suits of Iron Man armor…

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