Getting hit: On how to get a bomb squad* cop to come to your ER room

by hhf3

*No actual bombs, don’t worry.

Continuing in the vein of ridiculousness, today I was riding my bike and got hit by, of all things, a cop car.
Yeah, a cop car.
Now before you go all militant and get angry over cops not treating cyclists fairly and all that, you should know this was an accident in the purest sense of the term. I was riding up to a crosswalk by a coffeeshop to go the CVS next door, and two cars pulled up to the stop sign. The one furthest from me was a cop car, and the two cars were staggered by a foot or two, with the cop car a little bit further back. Seeing that they were both stopped, I rolled through the crosswalk. But then the police car started going! It all happened so fast, so I don’t really remember actually hitting the car. All I managed was to think “the cop car is really moving!” then the next thing I remember was rolling down the hood of the car (and thinking “i thought this only happened in movies”), then sitting on the ground. She hadn’t seen me at all behind the other car. Yeah, she hit me when I had the right of way, so for legal purposes it’s her fault, but she also had no idea I was there and obviously wasn’t trying to hit me. She had come to a full and complete stop and just plain and simple didn’t see me.
Someone grabbed my bike for me, and I was able to stand, so we got on the sidewalk. A bunch of people saw the accident, and one guy gave me his card if I needed a witness. Two more cop cars came, a fire truck with EMTs came, and then an ambulance. A little overkill, but whatever. The firemen took my bike, the EMTs took me, and the other cops did police-y type things.
The ambulance ride was pretty interesting. I was talking to the EMT, a former bike commuter here in Cleveland. Apparently he had stopped riding his bike to work because it got too unsafe. He also said that they’d been having more bike accidents recently. Not the kind of thing a bike advocate wants to hear, but important.
The ER visit was mostly routine. Some more cops came and asked me questions. Everyone would ask me, so what happened? I’d answer with “I was riding my bike when I got hit by a cop car” and I’d get a response along the lines of “wait, what? a cop car hit you?” As my knee, hip, and shin were hurting, I got a whole slew of x-rays. Got wheeled back radiology to find a bomb squad/crime scene photographer sitting outside my room (hence the title). Yeah, no joke. Apparently I’m a crime scene. So he took a few photographs and showed me the ones he had taken of Jay, my bike. Apparently the front fork is bent, along with one of the things that holds on the fenders. According to him, it looked fixable. I guess we’ll see when I pick up the bike and take it the bike shop. The x-rays came back, nothing was broken! Just a lot of contusions, which I think is a fancy word for bruises, kinda like how laceration is a fancy term for a cut. Got discharged, limped over to the hospital cafeteria and got an Einstein’s asiago cheese bagel because I feeling a little sorry for myself. Man, they have to be the best kind of bagel in the world. Took the bus back to my apartment and am now milking this for all its worth by sitting on my rear and being totally lazy. I’m already feeling better.
I’m incredibly lucky to have escaped from a car/bike collision with only bruises and a bike that (probably) can be fixed. That doesn’t always happen, like in the case of Sylvia Bingham the other week here in Cleveland. So, on that note, I would like to request a few things of all you readers:
  1. Wear a helmet. Even if you don’t think it works (even I’m not totally sold on the claim they protect your head), it sure makes it a lot easier to deal with paperwork/authorities if you do end up being involved in an accident.
  2. Read this post from Cycling Tips Blog on what to do if you’re involved in an accident. Thank goodness I had read the post, and remembered parts of it, because the last bullet point is very true: the adrenaline masks the pain, and it’s better to get it checked out right then because things don’t start hurting until later.
  3. If you’re in the Cleveland area, please participate in the 17 October ride celebrating the life of Sylvia Bingham. Meet in Edgewater park at 10am, there will be guided rides to go off and participate in community service type activities. Given what I know about Sylvia, I can’t think of a better way to memorialize her life than to do a cycling event that gives back to the community, and one that will raise awareness of cycling in Cleveland.
Also, since I know you’re feeling sorry for poor ole Furman, please consider donating to Bike & Build for me. Shameless, I know. 😛 But it’s going to a good cause: affordable housing!