Not like you needed to know anything more about me, but Bicycling have been kind enough to publish my strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk:
Sorry, make that my trite, predictable journey from solitary bike dork to solitary bike dork.
I’ve always been a Lone Wolf at heart:
Remember when I used to be funny? Those were the days.
Speaking of being unfunny, yesterday I wrote about tragedy, and the importance of not letting it undermine your faith in cycling or humanity. Well, I stand by that, but that doesn’t mean we should forget that some of these fuckers will run you down and leave you to die. Moreover, they’ll do the same to your children.
Shortly after publishing yesterday’s post, I headed out for a ride down to Central Park. At around 124th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, while waiting at a light, I sensed a commotion across the intersection. I don’t know if it was an auditory cue that drew my attention, or a visual one, but if you ride in a crowded urban environment you’re familiar with the almost extrasensory way in which you become aware that something’s amiss. In any case, when the car traffic passed I saw a young boy laid out next to a broken scooter. A driver had hit him and driven away.
Thankfully, the boy–still young enough to be bubbling over with excitement with Christmas, assuming his family celebrates it–was unharmed, and it appeared that another driver was attempting to chase down the driver who had hit him. I hadn’t seen the car that had hit the boy, nor did anyone else at the scene have a good description, as Manhattan is a sea of nondescript black and grey crossovers. There was nothing I could do, yet at that moment it felt impossible to do nothing. So I rode off in the hopes that…I don’t know, maybe the driver who had given chase had been successful and I could at least relay some useful information to the boy’s mother.
After a few blocks the futility of my endeavor became undeniable, and so I returned to the scene in order to report my failure. The boy’s mother was on her phone recounting what had happened, no doubt to the boy’s father or a family member. I expressed my gratitude for the boy’s well-being, and I continued on to Central Park.
All of this happened one block from a police station; in fact in order to drive away from the boy he or she had just hit, the driver would have driven right past the station house, and I note this for no other reason than to underscore the painful irony. By the time I passed the scene again on my return trip, the mother was talking to a pair of police officers, the boy standing quietly by her side, and while I have no idea what they were saying to her it’s not hard to imagine they were explaining that with no witnesses and no other information there was nothing they could do. Certainly I had no useful information to offer; there had been some cars, and then had been a boy in the street. No doubt an impatient driver had made a turn too quickly and clipped the poor kid as he started to cross–the sort of thing that almost happens about a million times a day in the city–but the fact of the matter was that I hadn’t seen shit.
Anyway, this is the point at which it’s tempting to indict car culture and run though the litany of policy changes that might increase liability on the part of drivers while decreasing the likelihood of a kid getting maimed or killed, culminating with a declaration about how de Blasio has failed us. However, all I’m thinking about is how that this boy and his family could have been spending the holidays in a hospital or worse. Thankfully this wasn’t the case.
I hope the boy and his family have the best Christmas they ever had, and I hope you do too. (Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas you can still have the best December 25th you ever had, right?) I have no plans to adhere to a rigid schedule next week, but at this point I imagine I’ll be checking in at least once before the New Year, at the very least to show off any bike-related gifts I may receive. In the meantime, ride safe, thanks for reading, and be sure to tally up those blessings.