Don't Ride Into Parked Cars

Although it is obvious why you should avoid stationary, immovable objects whilst riding your bicycle, I thought I would relate a few, completely true anecdotes that will help reinforce the point.

I had just left my driveway on my bicycle and realised that I had not set the odometer to zero on my trip meter.  Whilst riding, I looked down at the trip meter and started to push the required buttons.  When I had it set, I started to look up but my journey was interrupted by a solid wall of yellow.  I had ridden directly into the back of a small yellow vehicle.  This particular model was made sometime in the late 70’s, so was not designed to crumple on impact.  My face connected squarely with the boot.  I blacked out for a few seconds came too with the owner of the car trying to assist me to my feet.  I couldn’t put my right foot down, because my shoe lace was tangled around the pedal.  The owner couldn’t see this and I couldn’t tell her because my lips were swollen and I had a mouthful of blood.  After a brief bout of hopping and gesturing, I was untangled and managed to walk back home to nurse my wounds.

On a cold and windy night I was riding my bike home from work.  I was about 4 kilometres from home when the light on the front went out.  It was pitch black then, but I was very familiar with the route and had travelled it in the dark with no lights on previous occasions.  I came to one of the numerous creek crossings all of which necessitate negotiating a narrow wooden bridge.  I made my way onto the bridge without any trouble, but then promptly forgot about the metal bollard erected right in the middle of the walkway to deter cars from using the path.   The front wheel of my bike hit the bollard squarely.  This effectively stopped my bike dead in its tracks.  The bike flipped and I went sailing over the handlebars to land on my stomach on the walkway.  Some minor grazes was the result, but at least no one saw it.

The next little incident occurred a week later.  I was on my way to work this time, and was riding along a main road.  I approached and started to climb a long, but not very steep, hill.  I decided to really attack the hill on this occasion, so I put my head down and started to pump the pedals.  I rode straight into the back of parked utility vehicle.  I left the seat and landed on the tarpaulin covering the rear of the ute.  Unhurt, I rolled off to inspect the damage I had caused.  My bike was OK, but I had left a small dent in the tail gate of the ute.  The owner approached then and I started to apologise for the dent.  He told me not to worry about it and then asked me to do it again, because he didn’t see it.

I had a couple of incident free years then, but the run could not continue.

A few months ago, again on my way to work, but in the dark this time, I was travelling quite quickly along a narrow dirt track.  This track twists and turns for a short time, before straightening out.  I had ridden along this track dozens of times and knew in intimately.  What I didn’t know was that recent wild weather had left a large pine tree lying across the path.  I flew into the upper branches, puncturing my front tyre and causing lacerations to my arms and face.

Riding your bicycle is healthy and the benefits can be felt, both physically and mentally.  As long as you manage to avoid the “hidden” dangers of course.