What was going on in Brooklyn?
Now I don't want to make comparisons in anyway here. What happened are isolated instances and, well lets just say I got off light.
Yesterday, Wednesday...October 17th, for the first time in my 17 years of riding..in NYC...wait a second...17 and 17, thats creepy. I was hit by a mini van in the heart of the Hasidic part of Williamsburg Brooklyn. Surprise surprise for a group of people so well known for their driving skills...NOT. This part of Brooklyn is home to 57,000 Satmar Hasidic Jews and just about all of them seem to own mini vans. Now they may have their own version of Judisim, their own laws and customs which may seem alien to the influx of hipsters moving in right next store...but this does not absolve them from driving with the same rules of the road we all must adhere to.
That being said, I was riding my fixed gear down Roebling Street, North towards Broadway, to go to the bank. I see this Green mini van half way out into the intersection of South 9th. Roebling is a big two way street, and this intersection is huge. The van is making an illegal U-turn, only slowly, not whipping around. I decide to try and go to his front side...he must have seen me...in fact we made eye contact. Then a flukey thing happened, maybe out of panic, but one of my cleats comes out of the clipless pedals and there is no way for me to stop...I'm gonna hit something. But this van has ample time to stop. He barley clips me in the front wheel and I go over the handle bars. This elderly man says, "are you ok" as he slowly drives off, leaving me in the intersection. My back wheel won't move and it turns out its just the chain caught. Now I'm ok, a few scrapes...I don't say anything and one person in the crowd of people who watched this spectacle shouts..."Damn, son, I would have choked him." I just pull out a pad of paper I carry on me in my RELOAD side pouch and proceed to write down the plates as this van is slowly driving away. Green Mini Van...DYS 3310 (New York Plates) Now what to do? I've been thinking about this situation, just about every time I strap on my helmet and wonder if today will be my last. I feel fine. I look down and see that my right front bullhorn handlebar has taken the brunt of the crash. Its bent in and twisted up, but the rest of my indestructible orange KHS seems to be fine...wheels true...crank tight. Then I call 911 and report a Hit and Run accident.
The crowd still can't get over how calm I am...maybe I'm in shock. Out of procedure the fire truck shows up, then the cops and then the paramedics. I fill out all the information, give the cops my id, get checked out by the paramedics and assure them I don't need to go to the hospital. I get a number to call for the accident report and complaint number. I can just see how this thing could pan out. The van is registered to some Puerto Rican in the Bronx, I have to go to a line up and identify 6 of the Hasidim and one guy they threw in there with glue on side curls. The old man only speaks Hebrew and has no recollection of the incident. I'm not looking for a lawsuit here, just trying to fallow through. At the bare minimum I could get a new set of handlebars and maybe keep this guy reading Talmud and not operating a vehicle...who knows. Besides the cops being really friendly and attentive, there was also a local super of a building nearby that said he would be a witness.
If anyone knows a place to get straight bars...I'm in need of a new pair.
Then yesterday...Real tragedy stikes.
This comes from WABC and posted on:
2 cyclists were killed in Brooklyn.
"Two men, both bicyclists, were killed in separate accidents in Brooklyn Thursday morning.
In the first, police say a bicyclist was struck and killed by an oil truck at the intersection of Union Avenue and Ten Eyck Street in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
The bicyclist, a 26-year-old Massachusetts resident, was hit while cycling in the wrong direction just after 4:15 a.m.
He was allegedly trying to beat the oil truck, turning from southbound Union Avenue to Ten Eyck Street, when he was struck.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
No charges were filed.
Later, authorities say a 25-year-old bicyclist was struck by a white passenger van at the intersection of Utica Avenue and Fulton Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
The bicyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, in front of a church.
The driver of the passenger van was not immediately charged. The accident was under investigation.
A woman who lives near Union and Ten Eyck describes the scene:
I came up to the intersection this morning at around 7 a.m., and it had crime scene tape around it. There was a large truck (like an oil truck perhaps) stopped, post turn, and when I turned to look I saw a bicycle completely flattened under the back left tire. The person had been removed from the scene, but from the somber expressions and the remains on the road it was clear that this individual didn't survive. I would like to honor my neighbor in some way. This is so sad. I ride a bike pretty frequently and run all the time in the neighborhood. The intersection is absolutely terrible, people just peel around and often come very close to hitting me or my dog. As a matter of fact, I was just telling my friend on Monday about almost being hit a few blocks up from this (when I had a walk sign). Actually, all the intersections along Union Avenue in WBurg are like that. It is really, really hard to cross the street. The intersection where this tragedy occurred is a "T" so you can really only cross when the walk light says stop, because no one ever, ever, ever pays attention to the walk signal when they have the green light. This is so sad and senseless. After I walked by the scene, I saw so many cars in a rush try to run over pedestrians at Grand and Union, a few blocks away. I saw a car honking at a cyclist and come aggressively close to him on Union just past Grand. It is so sad. Is there anythign we can do to make drivers more accountable for their recklessness? "