A wonderful way to get hit by a car is to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk, against traffic on a one-way street. Drivers are generally looking for oncoming motor traffic, and not the people on the sidewalks in the other direction. After the whole ordeal, I caught myself doing the same thing; as you coast into an intersection, you slow down and you're only looking in one direction. Also, sneak out from behind some bushes like I did, and don't wear a helmet. Helps if you haven't ridden a bike in 5 years or so and your skills are a little shaky.

So, as a driver, make a habit of stopping before you get to any crosswalks. As a bicycle rider, you're supposed to follow traffic laws too. Not that that's fair, since the cars are a bigger hazard to you than you are to pedestrians, but the law's the law. And might I suggest, if you ever are in an accident and someone else gets injured, please show sympathy or go to the emergency room or follow up to inquire about the person's health. It greatly reduces chances of a lawsuit if you reduce/eliminate hard feelings by showing you care. If you don't care, at least pretend. The girl Clara and her mother were waiting in the emergency room to find out whether I was alright, and I couldn't even bring myself to ask them to pay the bills, never mind get angry at them.

May '01, 5:15 PM. The day after Mother's Day. I'm riding my bike home from work, against traffic on a one-way street since I live on the one way street. I'm about three blocks from my house, crossing a side street, and out of the corner of my eye I see a car. I was already in the intersection, and pedaling hard because I was going uphill. Oh, they'll see me, I thought.


I don't remember impact, I don't remember landing on my head. I probably wouldn't have gotten so hurt if I'd been wearing a helmet. I looked up and the pavement was so warm and pleasant I didn't wanna move. The girl came screaming out of her car Are you ok? Are you ok? Oh my god!

I had no ID, but I did have my cell phone and I was conscious. "Dial 5, enter. Call Jeff. 5, enter." She did; he ended up getting to the emergency room before I did. I was hanging out, having a good time, and then the paramedics got there. They were young men, and very attractive. "Wow, you're cute," I said to one of them. Then giggled. They made me wear a neck brace, and asked me who I was, where I lived, etc. Things began to hurt around then, and I noticed I couldn't see. That's when I started crying. The vision went out right in the center and I couldn't see a thing; it scared me to death. Nobody seemed to care much though, I suppose that must be pretty common since they showed a total lack of concern. I got the backboard treatment (isn't it wretched?) and then I got to take my first ambulance ride.

Those poor cute ambulance boys went to cut my shirt off (my absolute favorite T-shirt, by the way) and when I found out what they were doing I hit one of them and started wailing like a banshee. I never got to apologize. Nor did I get to see what the inside of an ambulance looks like (owing to my lack of vision), a pisser since the ride cost me $257.

I could see pretty well by the time they took me inside the hospital. When the nurse in the ER explained the shirt was already ruined from the road rash, I let her cut it the rest of the way off. I told her rudely "Don't touch my bra with those scissors." Looked like I was growing a garden on my belly, it was so dirty. End result: broken wrist, laceration on the head, big road rash, and bone bruising on my right leg at the point of impact. Jeff had to shampoo my hair twice to get the blood out because I couldn't reach my own head. My treasured $60 Wal-mart bike was trashed. $1000 in medical bills, most of it out-of-pocket. The cast on my wrist bothered me so much I cut it off with a Swiss Army knife; yet another bonehead maneuver. I slept almost non-stop for three days, waking up to eat and groom myself.

It was also the first time I'd had my picture in the newspaper since 7th grade. Was it so bad? Hell no! I'm scarred and arthritic now (in the wrist) but it's more of a fun war-story than anything else. And a rash of lessons learned the hard way.

The best part, probably, was this call, placed in the parking lot of the emergency room:

ring, ring
Hi, Mommy!
Hi, sweetie! How are ya?
Pretty good.
What's going on with you?
I got hit by a car today.
.......Excuse me?