This Story Is Only Hilarious Because I Lived To Tell The Tale 3

I’ve been riding Bike 2.0 around a lot – partly to break it in, and partly because of an ear infection that’s keeping me out of the pool until after Thanksgiving.

Since I ride on the Pacific Coast Highway and through Westwood Village quite a bit, I see a lot of really stupid driver behavior when it comes to dealing with bicyclists.

Mostly it’s obvious stuff like failing to check a frakkin’ bike lane for oncoming bikes before opening car doors into them, or weaving all over the place when there are a) bikers everywhere and b) tons of “SHARE THE ROAD” signs indicating that even if you don’t see them now, there are lots of bikers who use this road.

Once in a while, something will stand out as particularly stupid. Monday, I thought it was going to be the woman who looked me straight in the eye as she opened her car door right into my path. But no, I found a much, much greater stupidity.

I was coming up PCH right around here, headed back towards the Santa Monica pier to go home. There was a homeless guy pushing about four shopping carts up the shoulder. He was walking against traffic, which basically meant right at me.

The shoulder at this point is not wide enough to accommodate parked cars, me on my bike, and a homeless guy pushing four shopping carts, so I looked over my shoulder to see oncoming traffic in the lane I would have to briefly pull into. There was one car, but after that, my lane was clear.

I made a hand signal as I approached the homeless guy, pulled very slightly into the lane, and then WHOOSH. A mid ’90s beater of a Ford Taurus that had apparently been in the other lane comes flying by me, missing me by about a foot.

That’s pretty damn stupid on its own, but here’s the really stupid part: This car’s passenger door swings WIDE open. If it had come open about a second earlier, it would easily have knocked me off my bike and probably injured me fairly seriously.

The door just swung there in the breeze for about ten seconds, an empty garbage bag fluttering in the breeze from the passenger seat, and then a hand from the passenger seat nonchalantly reached over and pulled it shut as the car zipped along at 50mph, like this shit happens all the time.

I really couldn’t think of anything to do but just shout at the car, “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!” at the top of my lungs, and then start laughing.

I mean really, if the door had hit me the chances that a) they would have even stopped or b) they would have had insurance if they had stopped were pretty  low. If you can’t even get your car fixed so your door doesn’t swing open when you change lanes, odds are you’re too broke to buy insurance.

And the only reason I was anywhere near that door was that some homeless dude decided it’d be a grand idea to push a bunch of shopping carts several miles up from the nearest store that actually HAS shopping carts.

The odds of those two bits of stupidity happening to converge at one specific point in time are minuscule, and I’m lucky that the even more minuscule chance that it would have wound up with my ass splattered all over the pavement (again) didn’t wind up happening.

But sometimes, you just have to laugh at how incredibly, dangerously, hilariously stupid people are.

3 thoughts on “This Story Is Only Hilarious Because I Lived To Tell The Tale

  1. Reply Patrick Nov 17,2010 5:48 pm

    Glad you’re okay! And I love your tagging on this post.

  2. Reply Maggie Nov 18,2010 7:47 pm

    You have GOT to be fucking kidding. That truly is a gem. Thanks for sharing, and for not being in the hospital after that!

    I’d say the stupidest things I see on a regular basis on my bike are people who ride bikes with passengers sitting on the handlebars. So you know, the guy in front is the “eyes” of the operation, and the other guy blindly steers the bike and pedals. And 95% of the time they’re going against traffic and thus taking up MY bike lane (if I even have one, which is rare for New Haven).

    But I would say, as far as cars opening doors while parked: I ALWAYS always assume they can’t see me. People really don’t expect bikes… and what you don’t expect, you don’t see.

  3. Reply Ellen Nov 19,2010 12:36 pm

    Yeah, I definitely assume they can’t see me coming, which is why I ring the bell and yell when I see someone getting ready to open a car door when I’m heading towards them. Sigh.

    I don’t get too many handlebar riders in my area, though that’s mostly because the road to school is up a decently steep hill that’s hard enough to get up WITHOUT the difficulty of having someone else on your handlebars throwing your balance off.

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