Had to stop abruptly
State police officer in a marked car followed me too closely, then swerved around me, cutting me off. He then yelled at me to “pick a lane”.
Suggested improvements for this location: Disallow private buses to park in the travel lane. The police officer was likely trying to get around the many buses in the area, causing him to swerve in and out of the travel lanes.
1. Right hook
Injury: Broke three teeth, bruised palms
Roadway description: Sharrows (bicycle symbol with two chevrons)
Your story: I had to squeeze the brakes to avoid hitting a car that suddenly swerved into the sharrow. I panicked and hit the brake a bit too hard, flew over my handle bar, and landed on the pavement with my mouth. I broke three of my front teeth and bruised my palms pretty bad, but other than that, I did not sustain any serious injuries. Just partially deformed and very, very sore. A couple of very nice bicyclists and a passerby stopped and helped me, and another nice lady drove me to the emergency room. I couldn’t have been more lucky.
So… fast forward to Monday. I was feeling good enough to move around, and I had a dentist appointment to make. Thought I’d go to the police station to file a report. At the 14th District station, the sergeant told me that he cannot file a report since I never made contact with the car. Told me that I caused this for myself, that I should not have been riding on a street without a bike lane. Then he went on to lecture me about how the PBLs were funded by car owner’s money and the least I could do is to stay out of their way. The report was filed as a “hospitalization” and we called it a day. I was pissed.
First of all, the stretch of California Ave near Humboldt Park has sharrows, and while riding on it, my upmost concern is to stay out of the ways of car doors. Secondly, a jerkwad swerved into the sharrow… for what purpose? The sharrow is half as wide as his traffic lane. What did he think he is going to accomplish? Thirdly, I’m saddened by the fact that because I didn’t actually collide with the car, I’m responsible for my own injuries.
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