Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Accidents in cities

More or less the same thing in every sports, accidents are always part of the process. But with a bicycle, since everyone wants to go fast, the risks of getting a severe trauma or some really bad injuries are more higher. If you're alone, you only can blame yourself. If you're not alone, its more complex and sometimes more dangerous.

Accidents and/or crashes are part of the deal. If you play any sports or do anything that require a certain type of skills, there is always a chance that you might get hurt in an accident. Why? It's simple. It's the human nature. If you drive a car, a boat, a jetski, or you play tennis, rugby, football or you just simply knit, you will harm yourself, period. We learn from our mistakes all our lives and getting hurt is part of the process. So, let me tell you the cycling part and I will let you guys figure about the rest. | Cycling

Crashing into something or just falling of your bike, it hurts. Trust me, I've got my share of that in the past and I will tell you one later. But, there is always a way to minimize or prevent those accidents. You see, having the knowledge that maybe something will go south is preparing yourself for the worst case scenario. You just have to THINK before doing anything!

Let's put some examples to prove my point. Let say that you are riding your cheap bike in the city, any city that you want. Well, maybe just a city that you aren't familiar with in the first place. You have your best hybrid bike or a cheap bike and arrive at the top of hill. You begin to ride down as fast as you can to get to your destination faster, right? At the last seconds you see a parked car moving towards the street and make a right turn to engage it. But the thing is that you were so close that you didn't have enough time to brake. That lead you to crash on it and hurt yourself. If, at the start of the hill, you did manage to think that maybe there will be a car that will turn right and go on its journey, that maybe there is a chance of hurting yourself and to think to go downhill slower, you would manage to escape a dangerous situation.

Same thing apply for an offroad/mountain ride on your bicycle. You are rolling quite fast or at a good pace and quite can't see enough of the road in front of you. At the last second, you see that there's a dangerous step to cross and can't brake enough to avoid it and crash badly. Many will say that its more out of instincts than thinking. I can relate to that but you have to possess the knowledge first to make it as your instincts.

I was in a similar situation once where I didn't think before I act and it caused me to be in a crash. So, I was riding one sunny afternoon, in a not-so-calm street in the suburbs of Montreal and I happened to be I think on my 40th km or something near that. I was riding on the right side of the street (a street which have 4 lanes - 2 in each directions) and for no apparent reason, a car behind me started to really get heavy on the honking system. Being prepared for that, I manage to make myself even closer to the sidewalk at my right and let him pass. What bugged me the most is that the car owner decide to scroll down is passenger window, blurted and screamed some horrible names and continue as if nothing happened in his Beige Ford Focus Sedan (I remember that really clearly).

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Me, a bit pissed off by this total jackass, decided to rejoin the middle of the street (I was doing around 40-45 km/h) and give the punk the middle finger. Here's the bad part. What I did next wasn't bad but wasn't thoughtful either. So, seeing that the cars were slowing down in front of me, I turned myself to the middle part between the 2 lanes and continued with my speed. You all know how it is when there is traffic. Slow, stop and accelerate fast. Anyway, seeing they were going faster, I rejoined the middle of the right lane and I was still behind that crazy Ford Focus. Looking further in front of me, I saw that there was a huge gap between the car in front of the Focus and him. I should have been more careful but this guy jumped hard on his brakes (I was a bit close to him, I know) and me, without being to self conscious about that prick, jammed my bike into his rear bumper and crashed on his trunk. Since I bounced back on the road and manage to fall on my right side, the prick stormed off leaving me laying on the road and hurt.

Anyhow, I want to give a big thanks to the guy with his truck who helped me get on my feet and moved my bike. Without these kind of people, the world would be doomed. Plus, since that episode of pure frustration, I manage to always be more careful about the cars around me. You kind of recognize the type of drivers you can encounter and deal with how you ride your cheap road bike or your super ultra road war machine.

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