Anyone who has been in the bush searching for Charlie for any length of time knows the scenario: Big car. Little bike. Little chance. But fellow DC rep and all around nice guy Thom, who turns screws on the regular for Form Cycles, chimes in with his detailed account of a reality we are all too familiar with. Timing having its way, on this occasion, Thom keeps it cooled, and plays it out for the betterment of all cyclists regarding yet another drunk douchebag behind the wheel of a car:
I’ve been cycling for over 25yrs & have had plenty of close calls. Be it road conditions, poor judgement, trees, mechanicals, weather, other cyclists, dogs, elk, snakes, or bulls….. nothing rattles your cage more than being “buzzed” by a car. Of course being struck is the worst, & we’ve seen our far share of that. I consider “buzzed” as when a motorist, intentionally or not, comes uncomfortably close to striking you. It’s probably happened to many of you. The experience begins with initial surprise & fear that rushes to a surge of anger. This anger is usually channeled and reduced to a display of the middle finger. Every now and then it gets the opportunity to escalate past that.
I got buzzed yesterday in broad daylight while running errands. I was riding my commuter bike in the designated bike lane when a vehicle came from behind and just missed hitting me. After I corrected the simultaneous jerk of my bikes path from the lateral push / pull vacuum of the vehicle, I got a visual of the truck as it over corrected & counter steered itself to an upcoming red light. Fucker!! If I pushed down I could catch him at a stop. As I sprinted towards the truck, I kicked around the upcoming scenario in my mind. I’m a peaceful person. But damn my blood was up & I was not really sure what was about to happen. I came up alongside the stopped passenger side window and knocked on the window. As the driver slowly turned his gaze toward me it was instantly apparent he was inebriated. Day drinking, village drunk wasted. My confrontation turned from aggression to concern and & I started yelling at him to pull over. He kind of stared through me & slowly turned his vacant gaze towards the windshield & accelerated for the green light. As I watched him drive away I noted his plate # & fumbled with my cell phone to call 911. I gave all the pertinent info to dispatch and the operator inquired to specifics of the location & whether the driver was seen passing or entering a neighborhood side street. It’s the neighborhood where the Coconino Cycles shop is, and the last residential area to pull off in the direction of the trucks travel. That turn was out of my visual of the trucks travel, but it kind of made sense when I thought about it. I had time to kill & needed to burn off some frustration, so I headed into the neighborhood & snooped around looking for my green Toyota truck & plate #. The first couple streets yielded nothing but as I rode deeper in I saw the truck! He had backed into & damaged his front porch & was still sitting in the drivers seat. I did a slow ride by and didn’t notice any activity from the trucks interior. I called 911 again & could barely constrain my excitement….my heart was pounding & I couldn’t take my eyes of the drivers side door. Dispatch stated that she would send a deputy as soon as possible.
The next 20 minutes went by so fucking slow. In the first 5 minutes I watched the driver make a couple attempts to open the door about ¼ way only to close shut but not latch itself. I knew if this guy stumbled inside he would NEVER answer to the deputies knock on the door. All of what happened to me would be hearsay. My position had a blocked view of the street & I could only hear the approach of vehicles. As a car would approach I would perk up only to deflate as it was a residential car. Come on deputy….I’ve never anticipated your arrival so eagerly in all my life!! Then I saw the door swing open with more effort than previously and a foot began to drop past the driver’s door floorboard. Shit!! He has momentum this time. He was moving so slow it was killing me. Then the advance of his foot stopped & his ankle was lodged in between the driver’s door and the car. The foot and ankle hung up and twisted on the trim of the lower doorsill as the door sandwiched everything in place. Where the fuck are the cops!! It’s coming up on over 20 minutes since I called. I dialed 911 again & the operator assured me that the deputy would arrive soon. I spent the next five minutes staring at the drivers stuck foot & wondering if that door would swing open and the drunk zombie could muster up the force to walk away from his truck and into the house. How could he not feel that torqued ankle? Could I stop him from exiting the trucks interior? Then the moment came as I watched the sheriffs SUV pull up. Yes!!! Closure.
The deputy approached the truck & made several attempts to assess the driver. He was unable to respond or state his name. After a few more attempts, the deputy took my info & stated he would give me an update later. I proceeded to finish my commute home and allowed what transpired to sink in. I was still shook up but happy to be alive & stoked that I had closure. It would have killed me knowing this guy was cruising around in the future. The deputy called later & stated a blood alcohol was pulled by paramedics at the scene, he was highly intoxicated & hospitalized that evening due to intoxication level, was being charged with aggravated DUI (driving on suspended license since 1980’s), truck is impounded, and will be booked in am. Fuck yeah. Keep the rubber side down & be safe out there!