Another Bike Story: First Date Edition

This is another one of the many experiences I had while in Philadelphia. This is the story of a first date I went on that ended in a car accident. While I lived in Philly I didn't have a car though, so let me explain.

For this particular first date we decided to just go hang out by the Schuylkill River and talk. It was a beautiful late spring afternoon and the sun was setting over the river, so it was pretty ideal by first date standards. If anything it was a bit too romantic, but at this point in my dating life I was open to just embracing the experience instead of attaching anything else to it.

Everything went fine, the conversation was effortless, we were both pretty new to the city and it was overall just a nice experience for two people that knew few people in Philadelphia. We had both biked down to the river, so we began to bike back up the trail so that we could get in to the city proper.

The trail follows Kelly Drive and has a few inlets into the city, one up near North Philly, and the other near the Art Museum. Any other inlet is kind of difficult to maneuver, or at least I had thought so at the time.

We made our way down Kelly Drive to the Art Museum, and for those who haven't been to Philadelphia the road around the Art Museum can be kind of stressful. At least six lanes, pretty dark at night due to trees and traffic lights everywhere. Not to mention it winds around the museum creating blind corners for pedestrians and drivers alike. As the light began to turn red we stopped at the light about to cross the street.

Call it first date jitters, or distraction toward someone you like, or just plain ignorance, but when traffic began to clear my date started to edge her way across the six lane road. Before I realized this she was already peddling and I shouted "Stop!"

Across the road another person tried to yell to her as well, but it was already too late. The seemingly empty street began to bustle back to life as a new wave of traffic sped around the blind corner right into my date.

The first car slammed into her side sending her over the hood and out of sight. The car that followed hit something that I couldn't see with a deafening "thud." 

I was certain I had just witnessed someone die, someone I had just begun to know.

As the traffic cleared I saw my date sitting on the ground struggling to get up, and the second car with a bike wedged beneath it. Thankfully that was the thud I heard, her bike not her body. 

As soon as the "walk" sign was on for me I made my way into the road to see what I could do to help. After years as a lifeguard and trained in emergency response I at least had some idea of what to do. 

By the time I was able to get over there another woman who was a nurse had already gotten out of her car and handled the initial assessment. My date had no broken bones, and since she had a helmet on she probably only had a mild concussion. Everyone around kept asking me if she's normally like this to which my response was "well it's our first date, so I have no idea." 

As the ambulance arrived (which my date insisted she didn't need but the man who hit her wouldn't have it) I started to exchange information and try to come to terms with what had happened. Not long after the EMTs began checking her out, a black Cadillac pulled up going the wrong way down the street and two men hopped out.

"This man's been stabbed in the front and the back, where's the EMTs?!?"

"They're in the truck," I replied, still dazed from what had happened and what was now unfolding.

I looked into the car which was now lit up by the interior dome light and there was indeed a man with what looked like a red shirt on. As the EMT helped him out of the car I realized that the shirt was originally white, and the blood leaking from a wound on his upper right chest and middle left back were what caused the shirt to be so soaked.

The man who hit my date then asked the EMT "What about the girl?"

"She's fine, take her to the hospital if you want," the EMT shouted back while helping the stab victim into his ambulance and then speeding away.

The man who hit my date still wanted to wait for another ambulance, but by now it had been an hour and a half and was approaching 10 PM. We all decided to part ways and check back the next day if need be. I walked her mangled bike home as she repeatedly told me that I didn't have to do this, but I would've done this for anyone. Like I told her that night, it was the right thing to do, and not enough people do the right thing anymore.

So I walked her home, set her bike down inside, gave her a hug and made plans for a second date that hopefully wouldn't end as poorly.