Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Triple Crown!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Have you ever been hit by a car?

There have been so many moments on my bicycle that I was hit or nearly hit by an automobile that sometimes it is difficult for me to remember specifics. But here is one I will never forget.

It was my 2nd year as a bike messenger — rookie enough not to really know how to handle a crash but experienced enough to know the law. Traveling east on H Street NW during rush hour, I was going to make a left at 16th Street to make a delivery. Being a major East/West thoroughfare, H Street is adorned with all sorts of "No Parking" signs for rush hour. Now because I was going to be making a left in less than a block, I'm passing all the traffic on the left side. In front of me in the left lane is an unmarked Fed Ex Ground van. What I know about Fed Ex Ground is that they are all contractors and required to supply their own vehicle. Most buy or lease a vehicle from Fed Ex but some — like this guy — have their own. So the delivery guy is parked—illegally—on the left side of a one-way street and I have no choice but to pass him to the right. Low and behold, the driver has the door open on the passenger side (in traffic) and is sifting through packages. I roll up and politely say, "Excuse me!" and smile. The driver steps aside and partially closes the door. As I squeeze between him and a Metrobus, the driver pushed the door back open and knocked me to the ground. The bus slammed on his brakes and jumped out to see if I fell. Apparently he saw the whole thing and called the transit police and MPD. Transit cop took a statement and hung around; Metro cop wrote me a ticket.

I know that it is NOT illegal to split lanes. But the cop was going to give me a ticket for splitting lanes and the driver, who was parked illegally, wasn't gonna receive a ticket for illegal parking nor for opening his door into traffic!

It is because of instances like these that I am so passionate about making the roads safe for everyone. Will you join me? Tell your story today!

DC Councilmember Mendelson is hosting a hearing on Enforcement of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety this Friday! They will be taking written comments through Feb. 15th.