Friday, September 5, 2008

Hit by a Truck

A truck hit me the other day. It sounds bad and could have been much worse, but I'm remarkably fine. Mrs. Wheelie and I were on vacation last week up in the lakes region of western Maine, and we went riding a bit. On Wednesday afternoon, we were riding home along Route 5 just north of the Saco River crossing. The shoulder is narrow but provides enough room for a bicycle. I was riding in front. Suddenly a big thump hit hard on my left shoulder and glass went flying everywhere. It didn't knock me over, but it was quite a shocking impact. An extended sideview mirror on a full sized pick-up truck hit me square on the left side. The sideview mirror exploded into many pieces. Mrs. Wheelie just missed getting hit. A car and a couple on a motorcycle pulled over to see if we were OK.

The driver of the truck was concerned though probably more for his liability than for my condition. At first, he offered the excuse that he was trying to squeeze between me on the right and oncoming traffic on the left. Then he suggested that I had swerved into the road. I quickly corrected him on that and everyone present seemed to agree. He then noted that I had destroyed his sideview mirror - as if I should feel sorry about that. Mostly I think his defensive words were the product of panic. It wasn't worth starting an argument because there really wasn't anything to argue about. The driver was clearly at fault and it I was still in one piece. End of story.

We went our separate ways after exchanging information. I didn't notice in time that the driver didn't state his insurance company and phone number, only his P.O. box and Maine license number - was he trying to hide or something? A police car pulled up a minute later before we got rolling. Apparently someone called it in. He was quite annoyed that the driver took off because, we learned, it's illegal to leave before the police arrive. The officer took our statement and then informed us that cyclists are legally entitled to 36 inches of passing room wherever they are in the road. We were the victims. The officer seemed sufficiently fired up at the absent driver that I didn't feel the need to offer additional complaint. It was an unfortunate accident, but I only cared that it wasn't worse. Though it does give me a little satisfaction to know that the driver will likely get hassled by the state of Maine in the near future. The truck driver is in a bit of trouble it seems.

On our way out of town the next day, I slowed down to see if I could spot the remains of the sideview mirror along the road. Only little shards of mirror were visible.

The soreness in my shoulder is already gone, but I'm still at a loss on riding. Of course, I'm going to continue to ride a bicycle. Though we canceled this weekend's bike tour in down-east Maine. I guess the bad weather is a part of the reason, but no one is feeling good about riding, especially in Maine, right now. It's best to let this one sit for a while.

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