Thursday, August 10, 2017


I hit someone today. With my car.

I wake up at 7. Can't sleep. I've been doing that a lot lately.

Instead of staying in bed, I decide to go work out. Get ahead of the curve.

There's a street in Grand Rapids called "Beltline". It's sort of a pseudo-highway, because it's divided (with a wide, grassy median) and has a 55 MPH speed limit, but there are stoplights every mile or so.

To get to the YMCA, I cross Beltline.

I go down a slight hill (at 30-35 MPH), the light turns green, and three cars go across the intersection. I'm still a few seconds away, but I know how long this light lasts, and I'm going to make it through with no problem.

I'm almost into the intersection, the light is still green, and something flashes into my vision from the left.

It's a cyclist, riding on the shoulder, and he is totally oblivious to the red light he's riding through.

All this happens in the next split second.

I realize I'm going to hit him.
I realize I might kill him.
I lock up the brakes.
I turn the wheel hard right, hoping to avoid t-boning him.
The car starts to slide.
We collide.
I feel the impact of his bike and body against the car.

I leap out of the car and run to where he's on the road, a few feet from my car. "Totally my fault," he says, as I help him get up. "You had the light."

He looks to be in his mid 40s, moderately fit, maybe 5'8" or a little shorter. Wearing a blue helmet. Solid.

"Are you okay?" I ask.

"Let's move off the road," he says, and I pull the car onto an angled, wide curb.

"I think I'm okay," he says, and he lifts up his left elbow to show a red patch--no lost skin, but a friction burn. "I think that's all."

"I can't believe you bounced off my car and all you have is a friction burn," I say.

"I have a history of bouncing off things," he says.

"How is your bike?" I ask. "Is it still rideable?"

"I think so," he says. He has to open up his rear brakes just a bit because the wheel was out of true, but everything else checks out.

I have to ask.

"What happened? Did you not see the light?"

"I saw it," he says. "I just spaced." He shakes my hand. "At least you weren't going too fast," he says. "Thank you for stopping."

"Why don't you start riding and I'll give you a minute or so?" I ask. "I'll pull up beside you, and if your bike isn't okay or you feel shaky, I can give you a ride."

"Thanks," he says. He mounts his bike and rides off.

About two minutes later, I drive up beside him and roll down the window. He waves. "I'm good," he says.

I wave and drive on.


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