Tuesday, January 24, 2006


On Saturday night a group of us rode out to Cicero to eat at a Czech restaurant. Before we were really even out of downtown, I got doored.

The situation was that our group of about a dozen riders was slowing down for a red light. About half of the group had already passed a cab that was waiting at the light. When I rode past the door opened and even though I swerved mostly out of the way, the door hit my handlebars. I kept the bike upright, though and immediately commenced cursing at the man when I had a foot firmly on the ground. He choose to ignore me so my diatribe of cursing mixed with citation of Illinois statutes increased in speed and intensity. Fucker.

Then Paul jumped onto the sidewalk to continue yelling at the guy. The well-dressed older man wasn’t listening at all, so I asked Paul to stop. Then Jan commenced a conversation with the man, demanding that he apologize to me. The man denied purposefully trying to harm me and Jan continued, saying that we never said he did it purposefully, but that he didn’t acknowledge or apologize for it. The man then agreed that he should have apologize, but still he didn’t.

At this point I realized that he was headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and that there were other old well-dressed people watching the incident, so I yelled my concluding remark: "Pray Well!" Others in our group noticed the church then, too and began yelling more funny comments at him, like "God loves people who hit bicyclists."

Overall it was a pretty funny situation, especially considering that he was probably questioned by his fellow church-goers at why he was escorted to church by a bunch of bikers cursing at him. Tehehe.

I do feel a little bad about immediately launching in with yelling and cursing – because it isn’t the most reasonable way to communicate with people since it completely puts them on the defensive, and confirms the stereotype of bikers as rude and uncouth. But still, he was in the wrong and there was no reason for him to not notice the stream of bikers flowing around the car. He was totally on notice that he should pay attention.

I hate the idea that inattention is an excuse for harming someone, and that only purposefully illegal or violent actions are problematic.


At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, a group of bikey people harassing one older man, apparently on his way to a church. You're right, that is funny stuff. You usually don't get entertainment like that off of the grade school playground.

I wonder at which point his shame at having almost hurt somebody turned into fear for his own physical safety? Was it when Paul hopped up on the sidewalk to get in his face or when the rest of your friends joined in?

I have no doubt his fellow parishioners thought he had it coming, and they will all be much more vigilant when it comes to looking out for bikers on the road, as opposed to wondering if maybe they should call the police to stop the bikers from bullying their friend. Nothing like a little good PR to help smooth over relations for the rest of us on two wheels, thanks.

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Tanya said...

I noticed while riding a Toronto cab the other day they now have stickers on both passenger windows "Watch for Bikes". I wonder if it makes someone that might have otherwise flung open the door look twice.

Glad it wasn't serious. It sure sounds like you guys have shamed him into making sure he doesn't make the same mistake twice!


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