3.1
February 17, 2009

Yesterday, I got hit by a car. I was fine. My bike was not.

probably should start wearing a bike helmet

Above: One of my favorite books, when I was a child. Parents: my ma & I recommend it highly.

Please note: despite the below, far more folks get in accidents in cars every day, and get killed. I ride every day, off and on all day, and have for years, and this is the first time that I ever found myself in a situation I couldn’t get out of. Biking? Have good awareness, and it’s a safe mode of transport. I’ve been right back out there riding around: fresh air, a little exercise, no parking costs or time (in fact I get front-door delivery, via bike). No gas, no insurance, hardly any maintenance.

That said…

 

What’s interesting about getting hit by a car on your bike, and coming out of it fine (physically—mentally, I was seeing elephants) is that you realize that your life is like a balloon, and Life of Death or God just squeezed it for fun, put didn’t pop it. And you shake and quiver and realize how what’s inside and what’s outside is not divided by your body—how you’re basically a big gelatanous floating ghost in the machine of the Universe called life, and—for those who saw Benjamin Button—you gotta remember it’s precious, the sands of time don’t stop running for a second, and the only thing worth doing is living fully, and rightly, and with love, right now—’cause tomorrow may never come.

Yesterday, I was riding down a sidewalk (not downtown, so it was legal) because there was no bike lane in the street. In fact, the street had a bike symbol on it, telling bikes to ride down the middle of the only lane. The street’s on a hill, and I can tell you that few cyclists have ever had the gall, or stupidity, to try and follow the ‘Bikes ride in middle of only lane’ instruction on that hill. I’m full of gall, and stupidity, and have tried it a few times—and cars simply drive around you—into opposing traffic—or honk and ride on your tail (which, since you’re going downhill, means that if anything happens you’re a b-bump pancake). Car drivers don’t notice the bike painted in the middle of the lane—if you asked 100 car drivers what bikes were supposed to do, they’d all say ‘ride in the gutter,’ which is what I often do.

But when I’m feeling conservative, or when I have my dog, Redford with me (also legal, of course), and there’s no pedestrians for a block or so, I ride on the sidewalk. Which, since it’s not downtown, is legal. So I’m riding along and —flash— in my peripheral and time stops…a car has, without decelerating at all, music blasting, cut from well behind me into the alley in front of me (They didn’t see me, bc of the parked cars between us, right where a bike lane should be. Funny society that priorites parked cards over a bike lane—even here in we’re-so-bike-friendly Boulder, Colorado).

I slam on my brakes, and swerve to the left, but I can see I’m gonna get hit…A second later I’m on the ground, a pale girl is saying ‘are you okay,’ all I can feel is my groin on fire (it had at 10 miles per hour run into my suddenly-stopped bike frame), my hand is bleeding a very little, and my bike is on top of me, and the front tire is wrapped around me. I was lucky.

I’m also a week past when I was supposed to pay my mortgage, so I can’t get my bike out of UBikes, where Pale Girl dropped my Masi (without offering to pay, and I was so out of it I didn’t ask for her info) after she dropped me off at my meeting at Two Spoons, downtown (I was in such a daze, or state of shock, that my buddy Tom Hast basically ordered for me).

That’s not an appeal for help, since without my buddies’ shutdown startup/brilliant idea Crowdfunder, community support doesn’t have a way to plug in very well. It’s just where I’m at. I gotta survive two more months, financially-speaking, and at that point the many advertisers who have been jumping on board the elephant web site will have brought me to break-even, which is a sunny-side-up way of saying ‘broke.’ That’ll be a huge relief, the business equivalent of getting let out of prison and looking at the blue sky and breathing the fresh air and starting afresh at life. It’s been a long road to hoe, and when I wake up each morning, I find I’m thinking about ads and mortgages, and I look at my hair in the mirror and wonder that it’s not, Presidentially, getting white. Stress is a bitch.

Yesterday, when I wasn’t getting hit by cars, I met with three advisors about my prospective Council run, and also met with one hooked-up, savvy author about the two books I’m beginning to work on. I’m not rushing into a decision on which way to go on Council—serving on City Council takes a lot of hours each week, there’s very little ego glory (one of the two usual reasons to get into politics), it’s a minimum two-year commitment, it doesn’t pay really, it gives every bored hippie freak a reason to pick on you, and if I did win a campaign I would want to make like Macon Cowles and read a couple hundred pages in prep for each meeting and really serve 100%. If I don’t run, I’ll have more time to focus on getting a green talk show on a platform that could effect some change.

So, last night, after meeting with Mr. Morehouse, I ride home. Ironically I’m riding my backup usually-garaged old funky cruiser that doesn’t even have lights on it, and my brain is still all mush, like that Alec Baldwin commercial that airs over the Super Bowl, and my sweet dad calls, he’s grateful I’m aok and angry the girl didn’t offer to pay for the bike tire, and it’s just about dark when I get home. My friend L. drives by, honks, saying “I heard you got hit on FB” and drives up to my house. I minute later I’m there, and she has dinner for me, which is sweet and remarkable considering that I got zero cash and both my personal and biz accounts, for the first time in 7 years, have bounced and all I got is two cans of Amy’s veggie chili, a staple of mine that I’d already ett two nights in a row. What a glamorous life. She hugs me and, you know, not a big deal, I start crying slightly over her shoulder, but moving on my friend, she offers to help get my bike out, even loan me mortgage dough for a week (I have advertiser checks coming in), and this morning after a night holed up phone off still feeling whacked out in the brain I wake up and she’s texted, re-offering. She actually meant it. You want to know who your friends are, ask ’em for $2,000 for a week.

So moral of the story, as my friend Rogers would say, is if you’re in a position to help a friend a little bit right now (most have lost jobs in one years since 1945, I just heard), and you trust ’em, do help them. You’ll feel like a good person, which is priceless. And if you need help, don’t be proud and awkward: ask. Don’t drown ’cause you didn’t ask anybody who loves you for help. If they say no, sorry, that’s fine. But ask.

To end on a bonus note:

Look:

Re: video above:

Bicycle safety is a serious issue. Over 3,000 cyclists are involved in a crash every year – from getting doored to actually crashing with the vehicle. Over two million New Yorkers have bikes, only a small portion bike to work.

Most of these collisions are caused by preventable behaviors of drivers and cyclists: aggression on the streets, not paying attention, taking risks, and disobeying traffic rules. We believe that there are no accidents, and that all collisions are preventable if we just look out for each other.

Its our goal to prevent these collisions by changing the behavior of both drivers and cyclists. To do so, we must educate both cyclists and drivers on the rules of the road. In addition to a huge effort to disseminate helpful information to cyclists and drivers, we are embarking on a media campaign that will infiltrate the City with a simple message to drivers and cyclists:

Look.
http://www.nyc.gov/look

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