Monday, August 20, 2007

Long Friday

Friday evening ended with me pushing myself through a freak north headwind as I worked my way up Yonge Street. I had failed to find the memorial ride for Charlie Prinsep after riding all over Cabbagetown and the east end, following some guys on fixies around who were also looking for the group, and hanging around at Jet Fuel Cafe thinking people might return.

Since I heard about Charlie being killed by a driver on the transcanada highway, I've been reading his blog, and getting to know him, in a way. The whole thing is a painfully sad story. He was doing what I think many of us would dream of. And on top of that, as his blog proves, he was obviously a really nice guy, and would have been an interesting guy to know. He clearly had a big impact on a lot of people.

Riding into the city after work, I felt like there was a chance I was going to make it to the memorial ride on time, thanks to a freak north tailwind that was keeping me moving steadily at around 30 km/h. After about 10 minutes, I got a flat. It was my second flat of the ride this evening. As I looked down at my rim that was barely above the asphalt, I remembered what I had just read on Charlie's blog about glueless patches sucking. I didn't want to use one, but I had no choice, and now I'd use one again. The second time it seemed to work, and eventually got me downtown, although half an hour late.

Until I left work, my day was dominated with talking to people about my morning ride in. It was an eventful one. A driver of a minivan hit me while trying to pass me. I won't get into details because it's going to court, but I can give you a summary. A minivan pulls up at a red light behind me. We're on Yonge Street, and the lane is a little bit narrow here. The light turns green. He knows I'm in front of him. After we reach the other side of the intersection, he attempts to pass without changing lanes and hits me with his right side mirror. Fortunately, the mirror folded in, and I managed to avoid falling over. He didn't slow down, but I managed to get his license plate number. I called the police.

The police arrived in about 15 minutes and took my statement. I hear a lot of things about how the police in Toronto don't care about cyclists, but I have to say that my experience was the exact opposite. The police officer (inspector?) was very understanding and concerned about what happened. I would not hesitate to call the police if something like this happens. One thing I'm not sure about is calling 911. I called the non-emergency number, but I think I was routed to an emergency dispatch when I told them what happened.

To be continued (in about a year?) ...

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Darren J 8/20/2007 06:11:00 p.m.


It's kind of stupid, but I have noticed that motorists in general turned on us sometime in the past month. Things were going okay for a while there though.
Hey Darren, glad to hear you are okay and that the Police are doing something about it.

I was heading out of town on Friday, else I would have attempted to join the ride downtown. At 16th and the 404, there was a bona fide dust storm making things interesting.
Darren, so sorry to hear about your collision. Glad that you're okay and that the police seem to be taking it seriously. Hand on to that license plate number. If you don't get justice in the courts, perhaps a few choice keystrokes in the MTO database might give satisfaction. Revenge is a dish best served cold and all that. Working for the government has to have some benefits...

Take care of yourself.

Thanks for the messages. I haven't heard from my parents since I wrote this post. I hope that means they don't read my blog anymore!

Andrew, I found a pretty good fast way to get downtown. Next time, if you're up for it, we can take Don Mills - Broadview - Bloor. The only bad part is north of Steeles (or Finch), before the bus/bike lane starts.
Darren, that sounds cool. How about CM next week?
Glad you're okay. I think you have a way with cops ...

Do you think the driver was aware that he had hit you? Yeah obviously he should realize by the folding in mirror but he may have glanced back in his mirror and saw you were still on the bike. Drivers *really* need to be educated about leaving cyclists proper passing room.

So was your second flat the glueless patch failing from the first?
Yes, I'm 100% sure the driver knew he hit me.

My first flat was from a staple, or something that looked like a staple. That'll teach me for riding past the photocopier. The second flat was from the glueless patch failing.
Hey Darren, sorry you got hit, but glad the mirror folded and you're okay.

As wasteful as it is - I never use patches. I just put a whole new tube in. : (

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