This post was written on September 19th
I’m not a superstitious person. I believe luck, karma, curses and the like can all be attributed to hard-work and a positive attitude. That being said, my experiences biking in Philadelphia have really tested that resolve.
Last night I was run down by a moped while biking home from work.
If you read my last post, you know that I’ve had quite a few flat tires, which sucked in their own right, but I could at least understand.
This incident was totally out of my control.
I was only a few blocks away from my house in East Kensington, and biking down the route that I take every night. Things were uneventful as they usually are until I saw a white truck quickly backing up a one way street across the intersection, a moped going the wrong way following closely behind (or in front) of the truck.
Immediately I flagged this as strange and moved away from them so as to avoid the situation.
Next thing I knew the guy on the moped sped up so he was next to me at an uncomfortable distance.
“Where ya goin?”
“Home,” I said as I began to bolt away. There was something in the way his face looked. I’ve seen people that aren’t in the right state of mind plenty of times before. This guy had a similar look.
I’m not sure why I thought I could out run a moped on my bike, but then again I wasn’t really thinking. I just needed to get out of there. I could hear him behind me and I could see the headlights of the truck behind him.
I didn't know what they planned to do, I didn't know if they were working together, but I did know that I didn't want to find out.
Before I knew it he was next to me again only closer. If he wanted to he could’ve grabbed my handlebars, but he didn’t. Instead he decide to swerve into me and push me into the parked cars on my right.
But all I could think to do next was scramble away from the street and the car that I believed were his friends. I honestly thought they were going to run me over. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more frightened in my life.
To my relief they stopped.
“Grab your bike, were gonna go get that fucker,” a voice called out from the truck.
Still in shock I scrambled to move my battered bike from the street so they could get past. Looking back at the scene I saw earlier I realized that something like my situation had happened to them as well. That explains why they were reversing up a one way street and the moped was going the wrong way.
After the truck sped past in pursuit of the moped I just stood on the sidewalk for a moment trying to collect myself. There was a lot to unpack, the most pertinent being how to get home. My front tire wouldn’t move and I was concerned that the moped was around somewhere.
“Are you OK?” A woman asked me from her car.
Apparently she had been behind the truck and also seen the accident.
“Why’d he do that?” Asked a man from his stoop across the street that I hadn’t seen.
“I’m fine, a little banged up and same goes for my bike,” I replied, “and I have no idea, all he asked me was ‘where ya going?’”
“Stupid fucker,” the man said in consolation.
“That’s insane! What would make him want to do something like that?” The woman said, as well as ushering me to seek medical attention.
After assuring the woman I was alright and talking with the man on his stoop for a bit about the neighborhood, I couldn’t help but ask myself but ask the same question. In fact that question is probably the scariest thing about the whole interaction.
What would make him want to do something like that?
I’ll never know, which is the fear that makes you not want to do things again. The unknown of situations like this that keep you from doing things like bike home from work, or walk around at night. But if you let the unknown stop you then you’ll never truly live. So my only option is to get back on that bike, otherwise he wins.
So that’s what I’m going to do, once I figure out how to fix a bent front fork.