On Friday, May 12, 2023, I was struck by a car on Ocotillo while traveling eastbound near Arizona Avenue at 6:43 am. The weather was perfect. Traffic was very light. The sun was shining, and there was no wind to speak of. A cloudless blue sky.
The car was exiting the commercial area on the southwest corner of Arizona and Ocotillo. It was a silver Nissan sedan piloted by a young woman. She failed to stop and struck the right rear seatstay of my bicycle. I remember her and another woman getting out of the car. The driver said she was very sorry. I replied something to the effect that she should be more careful. The next thing I knew, a police officer was asking me if I knew where I was, or where I was going. I looked around, and although everything looked very familiar, I could not place where I was, where I was going, or how I had gotten there. The officer said that two people had called 911 to report a hit-and-run collision between a car and a cyclist. I was the cyclist.
I was going to meet up with some friends at the Panera Bread on Ocotillo just east of Arizona for a 7:00 am ride. Several of them passed the incident on their way to Panera, and all of them passed it going west on Ocotillo while the police and ambulance were getting me prepped for a ride to Chandler Regional.
It would appear that no one who knew me saw me. My Garmin said that I crashed at 6:43 am. I arrived at Chandler Regional ER at 7:23 am. So I was very likely there from 6:43 to 7:12 or so….
The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that these types of incidents are so common and so frequent that they are now part of the background of our everyday life experiences. It reminds me of the years I lived on Mt. Washington a couple of blocks back from the Alcoa sign that graced the hillside near the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh. Everyday that I went to work I would see this incredible vista overlooking the city of Pittsburgh. The vista quickly became part of the background. People who came to visit me would say, “Wow! What a nice view.” My reply would be, “oh yeah. It is.”
I’m one of those riders who mentally criticize those who wear dark clothing or lack flashing lights when they ride, priding myself on my superiority in sporting neon green and blaze orange clothing and bright flashing lights when I ride. None of those made a goddamn bit of difference last Friday morning. The weather was perfect. The traffic was nil. The sun was ahead of me. Yet someone in a car did what they, and many others, always do - gliding around a corner without stopping. And I’m paying for it. Big time.
I replay the situation in my mind a lot lately. I’m not feeling especially safe on the streets around here. It sucks, and I’m not sure about what I am going to do about it. But I am going to do something.