On the way back from classes today, I was hit by a bike rider. Just so no one starts panicking (Judy), all I ended up with were a scratch or two on my leg and the rider, in spite of falling over into some gravel next to the sidewalk, only got dirt on her jeans.
I was walking downhill on Virginia Ave back to my apartment about a yard behind a couple of other pedestrians. I hear someone behind me yell "Watch out!" Instinctively, I start to turn around to see what was happening. That's when her front tire grazes me and she pulls left into a bed of loose gravel and falls, bike and rider, on her side into it. I ask if she is alright or if she needs help up, because that's the right thing to do.
As she is getting up (not having any real injuries), another person comes up to see if she is okay. Her response:
"Yeah, I yelled 'watch out' but he [meaning me] didn't hear me and I couldn't go around 'cause there were other people in front of him..."
1) I did, in fact, hear her. The instinctual reaction to a yelled warning is to see where the warning came from and access the threat. In situations where this reaction is not desired, people have to be trained to react the correct way. Had she yelled much earlier, perhaps I would have had time to get out of her way.
2) I was a pedestrian using a pedestrian walkway. She was operating a vehicle on a pedestrian walkway. I realize a lot of bikers do this, but the point is they are supposed to be in the road with other vehicles.
3) She was traveling the same direction as the pedestrians, which means we couldn't see her coming.
4) She had to yell a warning because she either lost control of her bike or because she did not think she had to control it. If her brakes weren't working, why was she riding downhill on it? There are other possibilities, but they all lead back to her putting convenience over safety.
5) She also was not wearing a helmet. While that thankfully didn't affect the outcome of this incident, it potentially could have. It also further demonstrates her "convenience over safety" mindset.
First of all, I (and most people in the world I believe) have placed convenience over safety at one time or another. Each of us places the line somewhere different. One may feel that a certain safety measure is too onerous or draconian, while someone else may view it as too lenient or irresponsible. A responsible person, though, will take ownership of the mistake. "I forgot to lock the door", "I didn't set the alarm", "I stayed up too late", etc.
Had the biker said "I screwed up," I probably would not bother writing this. But, at best, her explanation absolves herself of any blame. At worst, it places fault with me for not being more observant or having a better instinctual reaction. Considering this could have ended worse for either or both of us, she should have acknowledged the choices she made which caused this.