Monday, May 16, 2011

Doored!

"It was only a matter of time before I got doored."

I'd thought that only a day or two earlier.

Dooring, the act of a cyclist being hit by an opening car door, is a not unusual occurrence. Riding in and with traffic, an urban cyclist winds up passing hundreds of parked cars every day, thousands over the course of a year. Add to that all of the taxis that pull up into bike lanes or up near curbs to discharge passengers and it is kind of surprising that dooring does not happen more often.

Which is why I was not really surprised when it finally happened to me.

Riding home on Friday, I was negotiating my way south on a traffic-packed Ninth Avenue, picking my way between the cars and the left-hand curb (riding on the left is legal in NYC if the street is wider than 90 feet). This is my standard evening commute and I've done it probably close to a hundred times this academic year.

Somewhere around 45th Street (I really was not paying attention but I know I was south of 47th and north of 42nd) I slowly pedaled past a taxi at the corner of whatever street and Ninth Avenue. As traffic was crawling, I did not realize that the taxi was pulling over to discharge a passenger, as the curb lane is open to traffic at that time of day I thought that it was just another cab caught in traffic.

And then it happened.

The passenger opened her door without looking and caught the back of my bike.

In slow motion (or so it seemed), I fought to keep my balance and failed, falling with my bike toward the curb.

The passenger, it must be said, was apologetic and offered to help me up, staying a moment to make sure I was o.k. (I was).

Hauling myself and my bike onto the sidewalk, I rolled up my bike tights and checked the scrapes that I could feel starting to sting. Just a skinned knee and some really, really minor skin loss on my other shin. But boy they stung!

Nothing else appeared to be injured on my body though I knew that I'd caught myself with my left hand, so I expected a bruise or worse when I got back on the bike. Fortunately I was wrong.

Examining my trusty bicycle, I found the handlebars twisted this way and that and skewed on the stem. A quick application of my multi-tool put everything right and gave me a few moments to collect myself before reboarding and completing my commute.

Once at home I did a more through self-examination and put a couple of band-aids on my scrapes so they wouldn't rub against my jeans. No real damage done, though I could feel a nice bruise on my thigh and, just this morning, realized the my upper arm soreness was actually due to a handlebar shaped bruise.

Frankly, if I had to get doored, I'm glad that this is how it happened.

I was back on my bike the next day and even commuted in the rain today.

Didn't even lose my back blinky!

3 comments:

Penny said...

i held my breath and my eyes got wide when i saw the title to this post.

thank goodness you are ok.

may you, and all the squids, bike safely and in good health. i worry about you!

Paul said...

So glad you're you're on the mend! Thank good ness it wasn't worse!

Dee said...

Glad you're okay. You're a brave woman to get right back to it again.