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Just coming home from work in the jungle of traffic that is downtown Manhattan at rush hour. Waiting to cross 6th Ave. Light turns green and I pull out into the intersection. Half-way into the intersection I see a flash of movement to my forward right. It's a bike messenger. On a carbon fiber race bike. Fixed gear. NO BRAKES. NO HELMET. These are all things I discovered after, of course; as in the split second from when he appeared from behind the traffic to my right stopped at the light and the impact I barely had time to see anything or react. I suppose my reaction was based on instinct and a familiarity to the way these guys ride. Oftentimes they will enter an intersection at full speed (and these are very fast bikes) despite a red light, assuming they will beat the intersecting traffic. When they don't beat the traffic, the ones without brakes [I know, I know- It sounds insane. It is. It's common] Will cut hard to the direction of the flow of intersecting traffic they have not beat through the intersection- commonly winding up at the front of the pack or skirting the side in a terrifyingly close manner. So whether knowing that had anything to do with my reaction or not is unknown to me. But I don't think it hurt. I hit the gas and beared left- Mind you still in the single lane I was in. I did this because i think some reptile part of my brain told me that if I hit the brakes and this guy tried to cut hard right (which is precisely what he did) I would wind up going straight into 3/4 of him and his bike. Mind you this all occurs in the space of the intersection, so my options were limited. So, power applied I curve left as he is curving right and damn if the crash almost didn't happen... But it did. Luckily for both of us my choice turned out to be the right one, and the impact was far more angled than a t-bone, and he was for the most part deflected. He wound up basically highsiding off his bike after the impact- I'm told- of course I couldn't see this happen. He walked over having collected his bike. Bleeding from the back of his head a bit. Immediately I pulled out my phone to call 911. He asked me to put the phone down. He didn't have insurance. First words out of his mouth. He was also candid about blowing the red light 'thought I had it til I saw you' he said, somewhat sheepishly. So here we are in downtown rush hour on the side of the road- various onlookers interjecting various helpful tips like- "Hey man you're bleeding" and the like. I pulled out my first aid kit to help him get cleaned up a bit. The cut on his head turns out not to be too deep- but nonetheless I'm begging this guy to let the EMTs check him out, even if he doesn't go to the hospital. He refuses. Two cops walk over and proceed to ask us what's happened. "Nobody's fault- just an accident" he says before I can say anything. "Really, guys- I'm fine etc etc" He was in a big hurry to get out of there. At this point I started wondering what exactly it was he delivered for a living, having now noticed the fully carbon fiber race bike, lack of delivery bag, and obvious desire to get the ***k out of there. A few minutes passed and a firetruck and ambulance showed up. I turned around to answer one of the police officer's questions and when I turned around the guy was gone. The EMTs talked to the cops and the firemen and me, and deciding there was no victim, crime, etc- everyone decided to leave. "Lemme ask you something- and tell me the truth- did he blow that light?" one of the cops asked me. Yes sir he did, I replied. "That's what I thought. I think he was happy to be alive and knew he ****ed up. That could've been a lot worse" Yes sir, it certainly could have. So I'm left with a few questions, and an observation or two. I wonder at the decision making process that lead someone to ride a fixed gear race bike with no brakes in Manhattan. Professionally. Without a helmet. Just... :huh: The other side of it is this. Assuming no illegalities- he very rightfully could have not wanted to be examined because he does not have insurance. I came home to a bill for an xray today. $200. So I'm left wondering- If a countries medical system didn't price gouge, and treatment cost a fair amount- would he have gone? I guess the pricing structure effectively excludes anyone but the very wealthy from avoiding the need for health insurance. Which really sucks. I think he's ok, though- so I suppose all's well that ends well. The last thing he said to me: "Man... If you had hit the brakes... Man..." All I could say was 'Yeah. You need a helmet. I'm glad you're ok.'

Oh also- the Versys with the SW crashbars is a TANK. Wobbled on impact, but never felt out of control, amazingly.
 

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Nice job not killing this guy. As a cyclist, I also appreciate your careful writing and not painting all bicyclists with the broad brush. Bicyclists come in all flavors, just like motorcyclists, and this guy was obviously very lucky that YOU were the guy who hit him. I doubt he'll learn much from his encounter, but I hope you can outgas it and not keep playing that video over and over in your mind. It will take a few days, so give it time. Again, nicely done.
 

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The movie Quicksilver glorified the fixed gear track bike as a messenger mobile. Those guys work hard and ride hard and competition is cut throat, but sometimes common sense is lacking.

As a cyclist myself who's been hit by a car, I also appreciate your keen eye and instincts. I wish more motorists had the same.
 

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Good write up... It put us right in the middle of things.

Puts the fact that sometimes I have to wait two whole lights to get across Panama City's (pop: 36,650) busiest intersection during rush hour in a whole new light...
 

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Owwww! I really respect you guys who ride in NYC. Sometimes I check out the NYC commuter forum on ADV rider, and I have to say that I'm in awe of what you go through.
I lived up around 125th St in the 80's and used to ride my bicycle all over Manhattan. Those bike messengers were crazy even back then. One day I was coming home past Columbus Circle and saw one of them under a white sheet with a bunch of cops standing around. That slowed me down a little!
 

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..."Nobody's fault- just an accident" he says before I can say anything. "Really, guys- I'm fine etc etc" He was in a big hurry to get out of there....
I wonder IF he had just stolen that bike, and wanted to get the Helloutadodge before someone caught him...?

:huh:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I wonder IF he had just stolen that bike, and wanted to get the Helloutadodge before someone caught him...?

:huh:
That- or perhaps he was delivering some Bolivian marching powder. Also common enough here. Who knows. I'm just glad everyone came out ok and I don't have some idiot's untimely death on my conscience...
 

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Bikes with no brakes in the city, that's scary.

We just had a death of a cyclist on way home from my work, was hit from behind at 100kph or 60 mph as the guy that hit him is a speed freak in a car and had just past four other cars starting with the first one on a acute corner and when he finally pulled back in past the lead car of the group he killed a fellow worker on the cycle. The guy he killed was a very popular person involved in various community events with teenage kids and wife.
 

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the end there, I read it as YOU got a 200 buck bill for his X-ray? I would refuse to pay it, and hand it to your Insurance company, he HIT you, and scratched up your bike, caused you trauma, night mares, and anything else. Good luck, glad your ok.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
the end there, I read it as YOU got a 200 buck bill for his X-ray? I would refuse to pay it, and hand it to your Insurance company, he HIT you, and scratched up your bike, caused you trauma, night mares, and anything else. Good luck, glad your ok.
Ha! No... I was just saying that I came home to an x-ray bill of my own from months ago- only trying to demonstrate the inflated cost! The saga continued on Friday, though. Coming home from work I started to feel a very strange wobble in the rear of the bike, and suddenly heard a large crash and skidding hiss noise as my pelican topcase came free of the bike and skittered/flipped down 1st Ave. Luckily no traffic around and I was able to get to it. I guess the guy must've hit the case hard enough to pull the nut through the sw motech adapter plate. Since repaired with some new hardware and washers. However- I had TWO laptops in the case when it fell off and both of them and everything else that was in there is fine. Pelican cases are TOUGH (plus now it has scars and scars are cool :p )
 

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I've never understood WHY anyone would want to do something that WILL kill you IF you SLIGHTLY miss-judge. (In the airforce some guys would fly under something where the margin-of-error was ONLY several feet....)

I was leading a formation of C-130s over the Primrose Range in northern Alberta, at low-level (about 50' AGL OR LOWER on the radar altimeter), when an a$$hat in a CF-104 Starfighter flew UNDER my airplane from right to left. The 104 is 21 FEET from the top of the tail to the bottom of the ventral fin, so there was AT BEST 29' available for this stupidity, including the small lodgepole pines that grow in muskeg! :eek:

I had a crew of seven on my airplane (so we would have ALL been killed had he contacted my Hercules), while the 104 driver had an ejection seat....

I'll say it again - WHAT AN A$$HAT!!!

:eek:fftopic:
 
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