Cause of Accident: Good Manners

(It’s been almost 10 years since I wrote a post with no pictures, like this one. This post has no pictures since the accident left me sideways in an intersection for a brief moment, which is one of the rare moments when I don’t snap a picture. If you’d like to see posts with pictures, there’s a couple hundred in other parts of this blog.)

I pulled on the brakes of my bike while rolling to a stop sign. On the other side of the road, a car was stopped, facing me, and signaling left. It wasn’t moving, so I suspect other cars were coming from the left or right. After looking both ways, no cars showed up, so I waited for the car in front to turn. It didn’t move, so I realized the driver was letting me go first, very good manners.

I appreciated that and pulled forward fast. That also showed good manners, since I didn’t want the nice driver to wait long. Going fast on a bike means standing up, pulling on the handlebar with one hand, and pushing with the opposite leg, on a pedal. Then, you repeat the process with the other arm and leg. It creates a surprising amount of force. I was almost across the road when I realized that I should wave, to show more manners.

Unfortunately, I was still standing in my bike, pulling with one arm, and pushing with the opposite leg. The instant I raised a hand from the handlebars, it occurred to me that I was testing physics. The test would check if interrupting the pull-push cycle of arms and legs could be interrupted while keeping the tires facing down, which is much more comfortable the having them face another direction.

An instant later, I realized I failed the test and quickly thought, “This might hurt more than usual,” while going down. I usually fall a few times a year, but it’s often over snow, ice, or both. In that case, my body slides on the snow or ice and takes away some of the impact. Since it’s August, there wasn’t much snow or ice on the road.

All the energy I’d used to move my bike fast now moved it fast to the ground, right in front of the driver who’d showed such nice manners a moment ago. I got up fairly fast, but there was a groan in my voice when I said, “I shouldn’t have waived.”

I used to think there was always room for better manners, but now, not so much.

I’m in a coffee shop now and just walked away to clean a scrape by my right knee. The scrape is now clean enough, but my left leg is making me limp. Cycling home with one good leg will be a bit of challenge, but as long I go slow and do not mind my manners, I should be fine.