Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Doored and Floored

Well fuck. And all I wanted was a donut.

One block after a delicious donut stop at Peter Pan in Greenpoint I hit the pavement, and I hit it hard. Nine years of bike riding in NYC and I had never been car doored. I'd narrowly avoided it many a time and it has happened to just about everyone I know, but I've been pretty lucky. Guess my luck ran out. Out of nowhere a car door opened directly in my path on Manhattan Avenue. I had no time to stop or swerve and hit the door full speed. Bike first then head. I fell into the middle of the thankfully traffic-free street, a twisted mess of bicycle and Beverly. And while I am on the ground, what does the concerned citizen who doored me say? "Why the hell weren't you wearing a helmet?" No, "Are you okay?" or "Oh my god, I'm sorry!" Just blame blame blame.

Listen bitch, even if I was wearing a helmet my ankle would still be fucked and so would your car. Turns out her boyfriend was a trained paramedic who insisted on calling an ambulance. As soon as she realized she couldn't close the door to her SUV (score one for me!) she called the cops to file a report. While he was on the phone with 911 an onlooker from across the street was also calling, apparently it looked as gnarly as it felt. The ambulance came and no one was sure if I should go to the hospital or not. I had the biggest bump on my head in the history of me and my foot was throbbing though not swollen. I thankfully still have COBRA from my old job so I decided peace of mind was worth the suffering of an ER trip.

They loaded me into the back of the ambulance while we waited for the cops to come. The boyfriend knocked on the window and asked if we needed them anymore and we said yes, to file the report. He said their insurance company told them it wasn't necessary so they wanted to leave and I said, hell no, a report was getting filed. You see, if you open the driver's side door onto the street in New York City you are liable for any accident it causes. Having nightmares about a broken bicycle and an insurance company refusing to pay for my hospital visit, I wasn't about to let them just drive off into the sunset. So the cops came and the woman did all she could to blame me, including yelling about how I wasn't wearing a helmet and making the cops go up to me and tell me I should wear one.

It was ridiculous and one of the EMTs laughed when he heard me mutter "fucking bitch" under my breath. The two lady cops made fun of her, one Latina, one Muslim. While the Latina one was waiting for the Muslim one to finish getting the woman's statement she hung out in the ambulance flirting with the EMT about motorcycle riding (apparently almost everyone involved from the woman who doored me to the cop to the EMTs all rode) and made fun of me for riding my bike in a dress. She also rolled her eyes at the boyfriend who was pounding fists with some passing firefighters. "White fireman, coming in from Manhattan, you know he marched in the parade." Fuck it was St. Patricks day too.

Finally we were off and I had a great conversation with my EMT about drunk driving. I realized I hadn't specified a hospital and they were taking me to the nearest one...Woodhull aka Deathkill aka The Death Star aka the hospital I never ever wanted to go to...

I'm going to take a break and continue this post in a second part...

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