How I’m Going to Die

One day a car is going to hit me, I swear.
Yesterday, riding the bike to work I’m in the f’ing bus/bike lane, and it doesn’t help that the stretch of 9th St is pockmarked and uneven, when a car swoops up behind me. IN THE BUS/BIKE ONLY LANE! The bloody thing could have hit me as I was trying deal with the bumps and dips in the road.
A few days before that when on foot, I was crossing Rhode Island along 7th Street and a car turning on to RI doesn’t even pretend to slow down. I was in the crosswalk and I had the light, though the little red hand was flashing. But still.
Once again I say, I’m more likely to get hit by a car than shot. Despite the shooting spree that has popped up around here, the four wheeled monster is still my greatest danger. I’ve been here now for eight years and the sound of random gunfire has gone down while my near misses with cars have gone up.
And while I’m ranting, wear your bike helmets people! Stop at the light and look both ways before crossing.

13 thoughts on “How I’m Going to Die”

  1. As someone who crosses the terrifying NY Ave/Florida Ave intersection every day, I completely agree. People either still think they’re on the highway and aren’t watching for pedestrians at all as they fly through the right turn onto Florida, or they seem to think pedestrians should yield to cars when we have the light.

    Re: helmets, in the past week I’ve seen two people wearing them without the straps fastened. I don’t think they’d thought it through.

  2. If I see one more hipster female biker with a long flowing skirt, extremely wide handlebars, and no helmet, I’m going to scream. This is DC, not some Doris Day movie!

    “La la la… I’m so girlie and pretty on my pink bicycle…. la la la…”

  3. I was biking downtown last weekend in a bike lane when a passenger in a passing car leaned out the window and yelled “Get out of the f***ing road!” 1. BIKE LANE 2. It’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk in that part of the District.

    And, Mari, I completely agree about that part of 9th. Can’t some (most) drivers see the big white letters that say BIKE/BUS LANE ONLY?!

  4. “La la la… I’m so girlie and pretty on my pink bicycle…. la la la…”

    It’s red (and rust), the skirt is just big enough to allow for movement, and if I can get the flip part of my hair to poke through the bottom of the helmet, I’m good n’ girlie.

    Yeah, helmet-less coasters should stay off the main roads.

  5. I take F St. NW to 5th St. NW up to Q.

    There is no respect for bike lanes on 9th St, so I don’t use them. I get more respect on calmer streets with no bike lanes. But I’ve been verbally threatened with death by a driver in an SUV with MD tags. I also have my fair share of drivers lunging at me when I’m the crosswalk with the right of way.

    Can’t wait for the next major uptick in gas prices….

  6. Don't hate on wide handlebars and pretty frames – not everybody wants to bend over racing-style on their way to work. Personally, I don't find it very comfortable. I've got a 60s Columbia Tourist – it's a three-speed roadster-style ladies bicycle. Three-speeds are great for commuting – they're tough, utilitarian, easy to maintain, comfortable… and they were the most commonly used type of bicycle from the 1930s to the 1960s:
    They also handle potholes & rough terrain really well.
    That said, if you're not wearing a helmet and your skirt's in danger of become tangled in your gears, you're an idiot. And, I wouldn't be riding down Rhode Island in rush hour unless you can keep up with the traffic.

  7. "La la la… I'm so girlie and pretty on my pink bicycle…. la la la…"

    Tom A. & Mari: That was me on my pink bicycle, fyi. In that guise my name is "Charlene Hilton." Don't hate on Charlene, she can't help it if she's pretty.

    Yes, we are probably going to die in the bike lane. But I found one thing that drivers notice and keeps them out of the bike lane is if you unfasten your U-lock and casually twirl it around. They tend to swerve away when I do that.

  8. I’ve only had to take out the U-lock and look threatening with it once.
    I was riding down T Street and this guy 2 cars back from me was blowing his horn at the red light. Dude, it wasn’t like he could make a right with the other car and traffic was backed up on 7th both ways. So still going down T and Mr. Jackaz is still behind me and actin’ a fool, so I turn down Wilterburger or what ever that small alley sized street is called, and he follows me. !? That’s when I take the U-lock out and decide if I need to, I’ll throw the bike under his car and f*** up his undercarriage.
    Jumping off the bike is easier with a women’s 3 speed.

  9. I should say “to get home from Penn Quarter”:
    I take F St. NW to 5th St. NW up to Q.

    To get to PQ, I take R to 6th to F.

  10. its crazy that its anyones business who wears a helmet. mind yer own head.

    but driving! yeah, i’m more scared of cars than guns anyday in the hood.
    i cross north capitol all the time and wait for cars to come to a COMPLETE stop, despite then only having about 8 seconds to cross.

    i really wish MPD would enforce basic pedestrian safety laws.

  11. I guess it’s also none of my business that I see bikers ignoring stop signs (they don’t even slow down) and disregard traffic lights. Maybe it is too that because I nearly got hit by a cyclist who didn’t think that red light meant her, as I was crossing the street with a white walk signal.

  12. when you put other peoples safety at risk, thats a problem. when drives wait in the cross walk, thats a problem. i’d even say that right turns on red is a problem in commercial areas.

    but when you risk you own safety by not wearing a helmet, thats totally different.

  13. S- We are just going to have to agree to disagree on this point.

    I have an opinion on things that don’t impact me directly ranging from other peoples’ bad boyfriends, safe sex, eating habits, private smoking, private non-driving drinking*, and a range of other private/personal behaviors. I’m not advocating policy or laws on helmet wearing. However when tragedy strikes it is poor taste to express these opinions and thus blame the victim, so best to express them before that happens.

    * I do believe you have (or should have) the right to be passed out stinking drunk on your own front porch.

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