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Monday, August 10, 2015

Well...At Least THIS time, Greedo Didn't Shoot First!

So, yea...that happened!
Some of you may remember a rant I posted back on July 15th regarding the way and direction in which cyclists are required to ride on the streets.  As it stands, we are required to go with the flow of traffic.  My argument being, that by doing it this way, we, the Veloists put our lives in the hands of Car drivers.  A group of people SORELY inadequate to the task!  Not to mention the advent of such things as cell phones and texting, which is somewhat akin to giving a psychopath a live grenade with no pin and recommend they "be careful"!  SO, my suggestion was to ride against the flow of traffic, thereby taking control of our OWN fates, and not relying on the distracted ditzy drivers aiming their 4000 pound death machines at you!
Well, needless to say, I was told flat out I was wrong by everyone who commented, responded or came in to visit and offer their opinion.  Don't get me wrong, opinions are great and I enjoy the challenge of conversation.  And mind you, it's not my place or purpose to try and convince you to abandon your principles or opinions.  I just like to express my own as a healthy outlet for venting frustration. 
In this case, I believe ONCE AGAIN...I was proven right!
Now, I should have known, yesterday being August the ninth, that I should have just pulled up the covers and stayed in bed the whole day until the calendar cleared to the tenth.  See, the ninth is the day after my birthday, and has become over the years, somewhat cursed.  Something traumatic ALLWAYS happens to me on the ninth but I had things to do and couldn't avoid that valuable span of 24 hours.
Mid afternoon I headed to the Home Depot down on Gulf To Bay.  I needed some materials for the Bakery, that I could not find at Lowes, Wal-Mart or K-Mart the other day.  Once stopping off to get my list of chores, I headed out.  Heading East (on the "right" side of the road, mind you) I got to Hercules, headed South and arriving at the intersection of Hercules and Gulf to Bay, found myself catching the light to cross over to the South side (the "right" side, yet again).  Now, as I am a wee bit anal about not wasting time at lights, instead of my usual route, along the sidewalk going against the flow of traffic, I took the crossing signal, then went back over Hercules headed East again, towards Home Depot.  Well...that and fact that once you get to Home Depot (which is on the South side of the road) you have to pass it to get to a crosswalk than double back.  Precious seconds wasted!  As I was cruising down the sidewalk, dutifully WITH  the flow of traffic, I will admit, I made ONE mistake; my mind was drifting, utilizing the drive time to mull over all the things I needed to get done that day, so when I came up on a parking lot entrance my "cautionary reaction time" was a wee bit slow.  It wasn't until I came up on the entrance, my front wheel almost to the intersection, that I glanced over my shoulder to see if anyone was turning into the parking lot.
This turned out to be an almost fatal mistake! 
I turned my head in just enough time to notice a silver streak careening into the parking lot in the form of some kind of a small silver convertible.  The driver (tinted windows so I have no idea if they were male or female) took no notice of my forward progression, and banked the corner.  Luckily, I hit the brakes, and leaned sharply to the right in an attempt to avoid the impact, but only served to lessen it somewhat.  Thankfully the lean allowed the force and momentum of the impact to catapult me away from the car, the entrance way, and more importantly the busy path of Gulf to Bay.  Surprisingly, I escaped serious injury, only sustaining the resultant road rash on my left knee and calf, and twisted my right calf muscle.  Sadly, my 1977 Schwinn, affectionately known as "Greedo" did not fare as well.....

Thankfully, we own a bike shop, so the repairs aren't going to sting more than my leg! 
Now of course, in true Floridian Fashion, the driver never stopped.   No witnesses came forward, no one stopped to help, and no police were involved.  Oh, yes, I was already told I should have called the police, but why?  Think me jaded, but there's NO point in doing that!  First off, I was to busy concentrating on where and how I was going to land to take the time to write down the license plate number.  And once I got up, I was more concerned with dragging Greedo out of the intersection before some other driver came along and considered him a speed bump (frame damage I CAN NOT fix!).  And, sadly, if it doesn't involve writing a ticket?  The police around here don't want anything to do with it.  And I speak from personal experience here folks.  On more than one occasion there "dedication" to duty has been exemplified.   Elijah, when he was thirteen was struck by a careening car while he stood at an intersection on his bike waiting to cross the street.  I was right behind him, and the impact was so great, he and the bike became airborne, and the right side view mirror of the car was broken off.  I picked up the rear view mirror (once checking on Elijah of course) and with that, and a description of the car, not to mention the first three digits of the license plate,  went and called the police and the paramedics.  They arrived, checked him out, considered him lucky he had nothing broken, then I turned my attention to the officer, handed him the rear view mirror that he studied with the least amount of interest, then I inquired on what they would do.  He sighed, smirked and said (and this is NO joke) "what do you want me to do about it?"
He than went on to say "well...I guess I can take a report, but it won't do any good"  I could not believe what I was hearing!  I pointed to the rear view mirror and the three digits, but he proclaimed that there were hundreds of thousands of silver cars in Florida and it would just be "A waste of time".
NOW, do you see why Florida is number two in the annual cases of vehicle on bicycle fatalities!  A car driver has no incentive to pay any attention to us!  Worse case scenario was when Kaleb was struck while crossing the street (he HAD the crossing sign, totaled his bike and was in ROUGH condition) but to add insult to injury, was not only ticketed for NOT yielding to oncoming traffic (UM...Florida statues says pedestrians have the right of way people!) but is currently being sued by the driver for among other things "emotional trauma resulting from striking a child"?  Yea.. I am SOOO serious!) These and many other experience's with the total lack of concern for the publics well being by the local police made wasting half my afternoon, superfluous (not to mention, I probably would be sighted for riding a Schwinn in the daytime or something!)  so I just limped the rest of the way to Home Depot, did my shopping and called a cab. 
SO how was your day.
On to the shop!  Saturday was very busy in the morning, having sent the men's 26" MTB to a new home.  Then, banged out a few repairs, had some Looky Loo's and was getting quite confident it would become a "normal" day around here, when the rains started yet again...
Still, even given the condition of the skies, we did have one gent come in and snag the "murdered" cruiser, and drop us off a trade in the way of an old school Giant ladies hybrid.  Paint's a little rough, so I'm not sure if it's worth rebuilding yet, but it has a real sweet set of road rims and tread on it, that will cap off the Dawes Road bike, quite nicely!!!
That's about it for today, as I now have to rebuild Greedo so I can get to work this afternoon!
Hope to see ya soon!!


  1. Ride safe. Ride defensive. And stay focused. Glad your okay. =)

  2. First of all let me tell you, you have got a great blog .I am interested in looking for more of such topics and would like to have further information. Hope to see the next blog soon.
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  3. Doctor who got it right: DON'T BLINK.

    For those of you reading this from out of town, Steven (and I) live in the highest density population in the southeast US. (And they are at their densest when driving.) We have about 3500 people per square mile here,and very few are from here, so traffic is a nightmare no matter how you travel. Hence the rule Mr. A. forgot:


  4. Thanks, john. I usually am the most cautious, forget once...and your screwed. Or at least greedo was!

  5. Chip...never gonna win this i? LOL!

  6. Steven-

    This one is a bit different. You weren't on the wrong side of the road, you simply didn't look back over your left should when maybe you should have. Gulf to Bay is so noisy you could never had heard him coming, but he had no idea how fast you were going. (They never do. ) You two never made contact, as I understand it, but you did hit something dodging him.

    I take Druid Road to get to Home Depot, and sneak in through the back gate. Even if it's locked, a bicycle will slide through to the west side of the thing. (Go team!) Coming in from the northwest, as you are, try Sunset Point or Drew Street out to Old Coachman Road, then take the Duke Trail south to Home Depot.


  7. Oh, no...we definitely made contact. He slammed me hard and with no remorse, no concern and just kept going. But yes, it can definitely be a morality tale of "paying attention" for bike riders.

  8. Whoa, then yeah, you should have called the cops. He was legally in the wrong.