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Better Biking is our new bike column by BicycleSPACE Marketing Manager Tony Pelton

“Anyone here need medical attention?” asks Howard Campo (campus police).

I’m the one lying on the pavement, on one elbow like a bloodied Playboy model. I’m hungover, but the disdain in the officer’s voice didn’t escape me. I just backflipped off my bike, I’m bleeding, and I’ve yardsaled in the middle of Georgia and as a collective, the group of drivers that just caused me to crash and myself are being asked who needs medical attention.

That’s how that goes. It did make me laugh though, which definitely lightened the situation (only for me, I don’t think the drivers appreciated the chuckle). This was my next favorite human interaction in this accident.

Car 1: “You OK?”
Me: “Yeah”
Car 1: “That was your fault”
Me: “You pulled out in front of me!”
Car 1 (passenger): “I didn’t see that happen”
Me: “Well how did I nearly end up going over your hood!”
Car 2: “I see where this is going… Can I get your info Car 1?”
Car 1: “This guy was out of control, he’s trying to sue us”

At this point I decided to get my concussed ass off the pavement. I picked up my destroyed helmet, gave everyone a nod, hopped on my bike (luckily my bicycle was in pristine condition) and road away. I had to get my ass to work, I was late for a meeting with one of our reps. Sometimes you know how things are going to shake out, and even after being violently thrown on to the back of my head I knew I wasn’t going to win this battle.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Don’t let drivers be bullies if they wronged you (side note: don’t go wronging drivers) because if we keep letting it happen that way it isn’t going to get any better. Know your rights and get the police involved if the drivers aren’t cooperating. At the end of the day, after cataloging my wounds both physical and financial (helmets ain’t cheap, even for me!) I was super mad I didn’t do more to defend myself.

Luckily, I channeled my anger by throwing a banging BBQ that night and drinking/eating meat to nurse my wounds. Cycle safe DC!

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