A Beautiful Morning and a Bicycle Accident

I awoke at 7:00 and checked my email. As there was nothing pressing, I went back to bed and woke up hours later to piano music. It was beautiful, soft music coming from the neighbours house, and I pretty sure it was someone playing – not a recording. The sun was coming through my curtains and the birds were chirping. It was a beautiful way to start the day!

I made a cup of tea and washed some strawberries for my breakfast. I finished packing for my Europe trip next week, and put on Chopin once the live piano music stopped. I did my first blog post of the year for my travel blog, A Black Beret Abroad, then had a FaceTime meeting with Charles to discuss the presentations we’re giving tomorrow on accessible media and documents for the students at Ryerson.

After a humble lunch of asparagus, egg, and rhubarb pie, I packed up my laptop and made to leave the house. My friends were at Christie Pits Park, so I thought I’d pop by and say hello before going to find a patio or cafe to do some work. First, I thought I better stop by the beauty shop at Dufferin and Bloor to pick up one last thing for Germany. So instead of going East, I headed West down Shanly Street.

Collision with a Moped

As I cycled down the Delaware Avenue, I felt like I’d forgotten something. Then I remembered my helmet. Should I go back? Oh, I was just going a short distance down residential streets, so it should be fine. Anyway, there’s all those recent studies on how cyclists wearing helmets get in more accidents than those without.

Murphy’s Law.

I turned onto Shanly Street and approached the intersection at Dovercourt Road. An old lady was crossing the crosswalk, so I went too. As I was nearing the other side, I noticed that the approaching moped wasn’t slowing down, and then BAMB – I went down. Apparently I flew a few feet! From the pavement, I looked up to see the old lady walking away down Shanly, now safely on the sidewalk. The moped driver had fallen too, his bike and him beyond the construction equipment just south of the intersection.

I got up. I was okay – scraped and bruised, but fine. The moped driver was getting up t0o. His wife, also on a moped, was yelling at him. People from the sidewalk came over. People came out of their houses. People stopped their cars and got out. It was if the whole community was coming out to see how we were doing.

I was nonchalant at first, but fortunately one of the women was able to convince me to sit down. I then realized that I was shaking. Multiple people offered me water. One woman ran home and got ice packs, wet dishcloths, and paper towels. They helped to me clean up as the wife tended to her husband. The women dragged my bike over to the fence (it was totaled) and helped me out of my backpack.

The moped driver was extremely apologetic. I felt sorry for him. He was more hurt than me – his collar bone was disconnected and he was badly scraped. I was tempted to default into saying “Its alright.”  but I didn’t. It wasn’t alright. Someone could have died or been seriously hurt. His wife said he’d had a stroke the week before – that didn’t help the sentiment in the crowd. I said I’d hope he’d be alright. That was true.

There was a social worker in the crowd, and she was counseling me to get the man to pay for the damage to my bike. I didn’t want to make a fuss, and I could tell that him and his wife were low-income, so I kept brushing off the idea. The man said he’d fix the bike for me, but as well-meaning as he was, I didn’t think that would be a good idea.

The paramedics and police came very quickly – I was surprised! Even though I said I was fine, they checked me out. It was interesting being inside the ambulance as I’d only seen them in the British detective dramas I watch. I was impressed by how well organized and compact everything was, optimizing the small space.

The police officer went on a long rant about how mopeds are considered bicycles under the law, even though they can go extremely fast. The law has yet to be updated to reflect their speed or danger they pose. Apparently its legal to ride a moped drunk – who would have thought! He said he couldn’t file a report, as it wasn’t a car or motorcycle.

The two women who had brought me first aid materials walked me home. They insisted on carrying my bags and bicycle for me, and made sure I got in safely. I was struck by their kindness – by the whole community’s kindness! It was incredible how everyone came together.

Once home, I undressed and found I had way more bruises and cuts than I thought. My first worry was the pictures for Nicole’s wedding, but the worst is on my lower body and inside of my arms, so I think it should be fine. Really, the accident could have been so much worse. I felt so lucky that this was all that had happened to me, the man, and that the old lady had escaped, totally unscathed (and possibly oblivious to what transpired). Good thing I was wearing jeans and my Blundstones too – not the cute summer dress and heels I had been considering to wear to the park!

My laptop was fine too. So, after a shower and applying Polysporin and Arnica cream all over my body, I set up my laptop to continue work on my slides. I may look pretty bad ass at my presentation tomorrow! Accessible Document Design in the rough!


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