Cyclist taken out by Fashionista!
So my new job has me riding back into the financial district on a daily basis and I find myself once again duly impressed with the ironic stupidity of some of the well-dressed and gainfully-employed folks around here. Just prior to the 9:00AM whistle yesterday, I watched a couple of lovely young ladies hesitate for a second, while misjudging the flow of traffic, and then step out into King Street right in front of a guy cruising through on a single-speed.
The first gal dashed out of the way, narrowly missing oncoming cars, but the second gal panicked like a deer in headlights and stopped the cyclist with an unintentional oversized Versace knock-off, clothesline maneuver. Thankfully there was a break in traffic and the fallen cyclist, though obviously in major pain, had a moment to recover and clear out of the street.
Like a good IBikeTO ambassador, I rushed over to ask the girls to please call 911 and to have the guy sit back on a bench, breathe and basically regain his composure while I got some ice for his busted up hand (thanks Café Supreme). As things calmed down for everyone, the guy actually ended up apologizing to the girl who stepped in front of him!
“I’m sorry I yelled at you” he said. Sheesh! Canada, eh?
I gave him my contact info, in case he needed anything, and also provided him the link to Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists, one of Toronto’s longest-term and most effective cycling advocacy groups, known to most as ARC.
While I don’t know if today’s victim will need to call upon their wealth of resources, ARC certainly helped me out, in ways they could never even know, when I was struck down by a truck four (or was it five) years ago. A cycle-friendly neighbour came out of his house to do for me pretty much what I just did for Buddy. The thing for me was that until then, I had been a lone cyclist in an aggressive and intimidating auto-centric city. This man’s helping hand, and the outreach and assistance of those who responded at ARC, opened my eyes to the amazingly powerful community that I now know cycling culture in Toronto to provide.
My connection to other cyclists has grown, as has my skill level in navigating the sketchier core urban areas. I found that as I learned about the experiences of others and about what my rights were on the road, I also gained confidence in taking lanes and making proper turns with hand signals and such, despite the aggravation of ignorant drivers behind me.
Rather than riding with anger or fear, I now find myself laughing at those kinds of situations. My biggest worry is arriving at the office with bugs stuck in my teeth from smiling the whole way in.