Fresh off my excitement at having met the guy who was seen in the end
credits of “Welcome Back, Kotter,” I was happily pedaling from the
Brooklyn Bridge towards my home in Park Slope. I was on a quiet and fairly
narrow street, and it was dark. I was riding beside the parked cars on the
left side of the street.
All of a sudden, this couple (him holding a XMas tree) walks in front of
me from behind a parked van. They were crossing the street and hadn’t
bothered to look in the direction of traffic, plus the guy’s view was
blocked by the tree. I screamed something and then the woman shrieked and
somehow the guy sped up (this happened in under half a second) and
amazingly, no one was hurt. On impulse, I jumped off my speeding Coker and
prepared to land awkwardly, but I landed standing (not sure how that
happened, since I was going about 14mph) and the Coker fell to the side in
front of me. Luckily there were no cars on the road.
I uttered a series of epithets directed at said couple and then, when the
guy acted a tad indignant, I asked him what I’d done wrong, pointing out
that they were crossing in the middle of the block against the light
(which was 100yds ahead) and hadn’t bothered to look. They had nothing to
say. I then proceded to chew them out some more (the surgeons who
reattached their rear ends called the operation a complete success) before
checking that Roger (the Coker) was fine. To my surprise, it was, so after
a few more sarky words, I continued home.
I write this to remind readers that it’s always good to plan ahead for
potential disasters. I have often said how, if a person were to put me in
a dangerous position by not paying attention while crossing a bike path or
while walking an unleashed dog, I would never swerve to avoid the person
IF that swerve could cause me to injure myself or an innocent bystander.
(I do swerve if I know it’s safe). In this case, I had no way of stopping
fast enough to avoid the woman and didn’t want to swerve into the parked
cars or further into the middle of the street, so I sort of jumped off the
Coker with my arms extended and with both feet off the pedals. I was
prepared to use one of the offenders to cushion my fall, and tho that
would have had ugly consequences for the pillow, I feel it would have been
the right thing to do. I think that if I hadn’t thought about this sort of
situation ahead of time, I might have done something dangerous like
veering into the parked cars.
When someone stupidly causes an accident that’s going to hurt one of you,
the only sensible thing seems to be to look after yourself first.
Until pedestrians come with air bags, this is probably the best course of
action. Any ideas?
David Stone Co-founder, Unatics of NY 1st Sunday / 3rd Saturday @ Central
1:30 start time after 11/1/01