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My First Citi Bike Accident: Day 38

Friday morning’s commute took me on a pretty circuitous route: north on Eighth, east on 38th, north on Broadway, east on 40th, north on Madison, and then east to 47th and Park where I found parking. The route was circuitous because I wanted to see if there was a route where I could “keep moving” without getting stopped by traffic jams, red lights, or clueless pedestrians, food trucks, and double-parked cars.

Today’s Route: What it says above
Best Thing About It: Actually got a bike at Penn Station and a dock at 47th and Park without hassle, for once.
Worst Thing About It: Exhausting trying to find a decent path.
Route Rating: 3 of 10

It was the ride home that afternoon where I encountered a first–my first accident on Citi Bike. Now thank God it was just a fall where I got a little bit of a scraped knee but it could have been a lot worse. I guess it was just a matter of time.

The evening started out uneventful enough. As usual on a Friday afternoon, there were no bikes near my office, a failure of Citi Bike I’ve gotten used to. But I saw on the app there were bikes at 51st and 6th, so I walked over there. Surely enough, I saw a bunch of bikes there. Now as you guessed by now, the reason there were so many bikes late on a Friday isn’t because Citi Bike did what they should have and restocked the bikes. No, once again I quickly found that nothing happened when I stuck my key in the dock. No lights, no sounds, nothing. I tried about 10 different bikes and was surrounded by a half dozen other bikers also going from bike to bike. Miraculously, after a while I had a bike randomly unlock on me. This again is another failure of Citi Bike I’ve gotten used to.

I rode West on 6th, turned left on Broadway, and then made my way to Ninth. It was getting dark by this time. My heart jumped a beat when a Yellow Cab came literally within six inches of me. Now even though it’s dark, the red lights on the bike are bright, so there’s no way he didn’t see me. I started to think to myself–for all the money I’m saving on Citi Bike, all it would take is one bad accident, and whatever money I saved would be completely not worth it.

But I finally got into what I thought was a safe haven on the bike path on Ninth. As usual, there were food trucks, double-parked police cars, and clueless pedestrians blocking the bike path every step of the way, so I was cautious.

But around the intersection at 39th or 40th, I had a green light and was riding when an idiot pedestrian, without looking, walked into my path, completely ignoring me and the bright red DO NOT WALK sign in front of him. I rang my bell frantically and let out a yell before I swerved out of his way, only to lose control and wipe out. As usual when things like this happen, everything went into slow motion. I could feel the bike crumble under me, and I braced myself as my knees hit the ground, and then the heavy Citi Bike twisted on top of me. Thank God there were no cars or other people to crash into, or it could have been a lot worse.

I lay there on the ground for a few seconds to compose myself. My knees hurt bad but I didn’t see any blood through my pants, which was a good sign. I yelled at the pedestrian, “What are you doing in the bike lane??”. To his credit, he wasn’t a jerk back to me, but acknowledged he was wrong and apologized.

I got up. My knees were already stiff, but I didn’t feel anything broken so I told the guy I was okay and rode off. My knees were stiff, but I made my way back to Penn. On the train, my knees got worse but later when I checked them, I just saw a few scrapes and bruises, but thank God, nothing worse than that.

It’s really a crying shame that this City is so bike-unfriendly, even with all the supposed improvements they put in place. I think of the recent tragedy in Central Park. Of course, 99% of the media and public are blaming Jason Marshall the cyclist, and yes, all evidence points to him riding way too fast and not being in full control. But no one points to the pedestrians who were loitering in his bike path whom he swerved to avoid before hitting Jill Tarlov, who were just as complicit in that tragedy. This City will only be safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars IF if pedestrians respect the space given to bikers and cars, cars respect the space given to pedestrians and bikers, and bikers respect the space given to cars and pedestrians. Instead, it seems more and more that we have a City full of clueless and/or entitled brats who don’t show any consideration, respect, or decency to anyone else, and a City full of politicians and media eager to demonize bikers rather than educating the public and working together to come up with a solution.

Cost per ride: $95/56.5=$1.68 per ride
Stress: 10 of 10
Aggravation: 8 of 10

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