Steel Coffin: Americas automobile Addiction

Incident # 1 - The door....


The week of the fourth I got doored by some drunk idiot in a Jeep Wrangler. BTW - Jeep doors - without the windows- are relatively painless and snap back when hit at 20 mph. I was riding home from work on a street
beside a bike path. I chose the street over the path as there were outdoor concerts going on and people all over the path with lawn chairs
and screaming children running everywhere - not my ideal ride. I was tooling along about 20-25 and there were cars parked on both sides of the street leaving about a car width and a half for traffic. The jeep was parked to my right and a car was coming at me from ahead, I moved to about three feet from the line of parked cars leaving enough room fot the
oncoming car and myself to pass comfortably. All at once, I brat ran out from between two cars chasing a ball, the oncoming car swerved, and the jeep door opened. I couldn't see into the jeep as the top was on with that crappy plastic "window". Never-the-less, I ended up nailing the door, flying through the air and landing on the front end of the second
oncoming car that stopped behind the first one. I was bruised, popped my shoulder out, but not bleeding anywhere, my bike had a flat and to my surprise no other problems. The kid was fine and the oncoming cars were
untouched except for the dent I left in the hood of #2 and a cracked windsheild (Thank-you Helmet!) The guy in the jeep was surprised and
dropped his beer cooler on his foot and screamed that it was broken and I ruined his car. He even through the bottle in his hand at me. Someone on the trail caled 911 and the police were there pretty quick. The officers
arrived and the first concern was the screaming drunk guy. He insisted that I hit him on purpose and wanted a paramedic for his foot and my insurance for his damaged jeep. This, in turn, promted car#2 to want some info because of the dent and the crack on his 1990 Topaz. The cops first question to me..."Why were you off the fucking path and on the street? Don't you know why these paths are built?" I explained that I do usually prefer riding that path but there were so many people sitting in lawn chairs on it with unattended children running everywhere that I chose the
street over possibly hitting a child. Cops response..."Bikes should never be on the street" I inquired about the law requiring bikes to ride on streets as opposed to sidewalks and he shook his head and walked away. Never once did either of the two cops inquire about my well-being or my bike. The bystanders confirmed to the police the details of the crash and an officer finally returned to me. He wanted my I.D., proof of insurance, and bike registration. He then placed me in handcuffs (which hurt my shoulder like hell) stating I "might" be under arrest for battery against
the driver of the Jeep. They also placed my bike in a paddy wagon. I was dumbfounded. I questioned the battery charge and was told that the driver and his witness said I aimed for him on purpose, he felt threatened ("possibly an assault charge") and wanted to file a battery charge for knocking him down and causing him to drop his cooler on his foot. "It's
his right to file if he felt threatened." I told the cop I felt threatened when he threw the bottle at me and said I would like to press charges also. I also asked whether anything was going to be done about the open container of beer in his hand when he got out of the driver's seat
and his overall sobriety level. He went back to the driver. After about 20 minutes of sitting handcuffed in the grass surrounded by gawkers, the cop came back and uncuffed me. He sat down in the grass beside me and was my new "best friend." He told me that the driver was just frightened and upset and no charges would be pressed. "Everyone's just trying to have a
good time tonight, and he's not the actual driver of the vehicle, he was just getting the cooler for his buddy." He asked why I hadn't registered my bike with the city and I explained I had registered three bikes in the past, paid my 30 fee, and when they were stolen, was told "Sorry about your luck. Do you know how many bikes are stolen in this city every year?
There's little chance anything will happen with this." so I opted for national registry and showed him the sticker. He asked where my helmet was, and at that point, I realized I didn't know and began to look around. I had it on when i hit the car and took it off to check for cracks while waiting for the cops. I even pointed out the impact spot on the glass and and asked the driver if he had seen it which he had but now it was gone. The cop told me he was going to impound my bike due to lack
of registration, decided not to write me a ticket for not wearing a helmet and said I should go on home now. I asked what would happen to my bike and was told I could get it back after properly registering it with the the city. At this point, I said thanks and turned to walk away. He stopped me again to tell me I should expect to hear from the driver's insurance company in the next few days and that I should really start
wearing a helmet. I thanked him again and started to walk home. After about fifty yards, I turned around to head back downtown and saw the cops pulling away. I lucked in to a bus to heading back downtown and wasgetting ready to step in when I heard someone yell "Hey Bike boy, you lose something?" and turned around just in time to catch my helmet with my face. The guy in the jeep threw it at me. I got on the bus and went to the city-county building to get my bike. Once there, I told them I wanted
to register my bike, pay my impound fine and go home. "What bike? I don't see a bike..." I had to explain the whole story and was told to wait. An hour later my "Best Friend" cop walked in and saw my helmet in my lap and dried blood on my face and all over my shirt. He said he didn't remember the blood from before so I told him where I "found" my helmet and
explained that the driver wouldn't let me on the bus bleeding so I persuaded him to let me on if I used my shirt as a bandage to stop my
nosebleed. He shook his head, sighed and walked to the other room. After another thirty minutes, there was a knock on the window and officer friendly was outside with my bike. He waved me out and said "Here's your bike, I'm not going to impound it or make you register it if you just want to go home, you've had a hard day." I went home. Nothing so far from any
insurance company.

Incident # 2 - The guys in the truck

I came out of a coffee shop on Tuesday night to find two really big guys standing on either side of my bike which was u-locked to a meter about 30 feet away. As soon as I started to approach, they walked away and I went to unlock my bike. The first thing I noticed was the pole on the meter had been partially cut. I looked up to see the men approaching their
truck across the street which had a cap on it but the tailgate and cap were open. Inside the truck was what appeared to be part of a bike rack with a bike chained to it. I had just enough time to see this before they threw something in the back and shut the doors. I grabbed my wallet and a pen and wrote the license number on one of my business cards as I washeading back into the coffee house to grab one of the two officers sitting at a table by the door. I stuck my head in the door, said "Can you help me please" and the cop followe me out to my bike. I pointed at the truck, still sitting in the same place trying to back out into the street but couldn't due to his proximity to a red light and traffic. I explained to the cop what I saw in the truck and pointed out the cut meter. In the time it took for me to explain. The truck was still stuck in his spot. The cop said he needed to grab his radio and his partner and went back in to the coffee house. The cop was inside for another full green light and the truck was really trying to get out. I went in the shop and the cop was sitting at his table again with his female partner. I told him the truck was about to take off and he held up my card and said I'll radio it in. I pointed to the truck, now backing into traffic and said "Can't you do something now?" He said "Listen Buddy (I hate the word Buddy), I told you I'll radio this in, I didn't see anything in the truck. I don't know that the meter pole wasn't already damaged. I'm on break and your interupting our dinner" (she giggled at that). I pointed at the truck now pulling away and he said "You should be more careful about where you lock your bike next time. Have a good night." I left........ I wish I would have gotten my card back.

Sorry this was so long but it's been very frustrating and I needed a place to vent... Anyone in Indy, please be aware, there's two guys in a black GMC truck with a bed-cap (or whatever) carrying some serious cutting tools. This helps explain the missing sections of the few bike racks there are and the occasional missing meter with a short pole.

Gary