Prentiss Riddle: Kids

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Another cyclist who makes us all look bad

A bicyclist ran over Malini as we were walking to school on the Shoal Creek hike and bike trail this morning. He came up behind us too fast, didn't alert us that he was coming, and assumed he knew which way we would dodge when we finally heard him. He guessed wrong and ran right into my daughter.

We're very lucky that she suffered only scrapes, bruises and a lot of tears. I'm trying not to imagine the worse injuries that a nine-year-old could receive being squashed on the pavement by two hundred pounds of bicycle and rider. Malini was terrified, of course, as were little sister Uma and I. When it was all over, Uma told me, "That made me want to say bad words!" Me, too, sweetie.

We walked Malini on to school where the nurse cleaned her up and gave her an ice pack. Thank heaven for school nurses. On top of everything else poor Malini was worried about being tardy!

As I was telling the story at Pacha afterward, another customer came over to introduce himself and suggested that I write a letter to the editor. I did, in the hope that maybe one knuckleheaded cyclist will read it and think, or maybe one non-knuckleheaded cyclist will talk to a knuckleheaded friend. Here's part of what I said: Please remind people that walkers have the right of way on the hike and bike trails, followed by runners, followed by cyclists. It's always the cyclist's responsibility to pass pedestrians slowly enough to avoid an accident. Yes, out of courtesy and self-defense it's nice for pedestrians to move right when a bike is coming, but we can't even do that if cyclists don't give us any warning.

After running my daughter down, the guy had the gall to shout at me, "Teach your kids how to walk on the trail!" If only his daddy had taught him how to ride. May his tires forever be flat.

kids 2004.09.29 link

Comments

Oh, that last comment burns me. Since when is it OK to blame everyone else for your stupid acts? I was almost run over in a crosswalk, so the driver stopped, honked, and flipped me off - and I had the light.

Pedestrians may have the right of way in theory, but everyone going faster obviously thinks they're immune to those pesky pedestrian protection rules.

ataraxy [ataraxy cxe graduallydisappear punkto com] • 2004.09.29
oh good god what a prick. I understand being frustrated with people on the greenbelt trail when I'm riding. Runners aiming straight for you running on the wrong side of the trail, people not listening to an "ON YOUR LEFT!" shouted some 100 ft back on the trail and of course the worst possible scenario.. the gaggle of sorority-like runners clustered three across who are completely unwilling to give ANY breaks to a cyclist.

But..
A child?
A @%@#$@ CHILD? I hope karma catches up and jams a branch into his front spokes when he's moving at a good clip. Maybe the road rash will remind him of what's at stake when you run into a person.

Zack [idyll cxe ticnet punkto com] • 2004.09.30
Wow. If the guy acted as much of a jerk as it sounds, I probably would've punched him. I would feel horrible if I were that cyclist regardless of whether or not I thought the child was at fault. She's a KID and he's an ADULT for cryin' out loud!

This sort of thing always brings up all of the instances where I've had to deal with adults who have no experience with kids or who are clearly put out by a kid (mostly in airplanes, airports or restaurants).

ttrentham [todo cxe thechunk punkto com] • 2004.09.30
Oh what an ass! Yeah he deserved a knuckle sandwich or at least a verbal knuckle sandwich. You should have asked him for insurance info and called the cops when he tried to leave the scene of an accident :-)

Cory HIcks [coryhicks cxe austin punkto rr punkto com] • 2004.09.30
Actually for a moment I was afraid he was going to punch me, something I certainly didn't want to have happen in front of my already traumatized kids. I decided it was best not even to discuss who was at fault and let him move on. I lost a chance to educate him about bicycle safety but I hope he figured that out on his own once he cooled off and inventoried his own scrapes.

It made me think afterwards about what I would have done if he *had* punched me. I guess it's time to teach the kids to dial 911 on a cell phone.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.09.30
Count me in with the "he needed to get punched" crowd. But you probably already guessed that from my fairly low opinion of cyclists' manners in this region.

M1EK [mdahmus cxe io punkto com] • 2004.09.30
We as riders can't assume anything regarding our surroundings. You've got to be alert courteous and cautious when around foot traffic AND dogs. That moron gives cycling a bad name

Hayduke [zoopzootemelk cxe hotmail punkto com] • 2004.10.01
Man, I can't believe the way some people ride! I find it a lot easier to avoid the hike and bike trails if I want to go fast -- I would rather be the small, slow guy on the road than the big, fast guy on the trail.

I think Uma is in the same kindergarten class as my son (Brenham). Small world.

--Will

Will [hoopshot cxe gmail punkto com] • 2004.10.01
The nerve of that guy about to punch you!

Maktaaq [maktaaq cxe hotmail punkto com] • 2004.10.02
He didn't even stop??!!

Oh, that makes me want to say bad words.

I'm sorry that you all had such an encounter. May he encounter his karma soon.

Kathryn [kathryn cxe pobox punkto com] • 2004.10.02
Kathryn, he did stop, but only because he was lying flat on the pavement too. I almost wish he'd managed to stay on his bike and keep moving, since he didn't exactly render aid afterward.

By the way, I'm not a regular reader of the Statesman. If any of you are and could keep an eye open for my letter, I'd appreciate it. I'd like to show it to Malini if it appears.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.10.02
What an unspeakably infuriating story! I have a 2 year old girl, I can't imagine having that happen to us even if she were bigger. I understand your not wanting to allow your kids to witness more violence after the criminally reckless rider assaulted her, I'd have wanted to do the same. Hats off to your restraint.

michael m [plantwater cxe yahoo punkto com] • 2004.10.03
In case you didn't see it, it's in Sunday's edition, and has already stirred up some grumbling on the austin-bikes list from people who think it's another anti-cyclist conspiracy. (sigh)

M1EK [mdahmus cxe io punkto com] • 2004.10.04
Maybe that's a regular route of his? Perhaps the next time you take a walk without the kids you could accidentally get in his way and throw him off his bike?

I don't recommend violence or revenge, but I'm only half joking - the guy deserves something deeply unpleasant to happen to him. Such as a punch in the face.

Jez [jez cxe jezblog punkto 34sp punkto com] • 2004.10.04
M1ek, I'm sure you'll set them straight that I didn't intend it as an anti-bike rant. I ride a bike myself and am ticked off about all the usual things that most cyclists are ticked off about. In my opinion the polarization of everything into pro- and anti-bike is itself an anti-bike phenomenon.

I have to say it's hard for me to imagine how anyone could think that mowing down kids is a good thing for cyclists, but what the hell, there's no accounting for the ridiculous cognitive corners some extremists paint themselves into.

Jez, thanks for the suggestion, but he already fell off his bike once and I don't think revenge on my part would teach him anything if he hasn't already learned it. In fact it might confirm his belief that he was right in the first place and get me beaten up in the process.

I have thought about posting a sign on the route, though. I wish I had pictures of the jerk. But even if I were lucky the sign would stay up only a couple of hours before one of the bikie jihadists M1ek mentioned tore it down.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.10.04
Prentiss, I'm so proud of you for not decking the guy, regardless of the quite obvious fact that he needed it. It may mean that Malini's version of the story may eventually be "I was crying, but I didn't totally freak out because my dad didn't freak out."

Your serenity is your strength. And karma will find his tires, no doubt.

It's odd to read this from a near-total cyclist's viewpoint. I'm constantly irritated by pedestrians who walk/speedwalk/run/stand-in-a-cluster-and-yap across the trail, but even my coal black heart brakes for children.

Good post.

Oddmonster [oddmonster cxe madlinguist punkto com] • 2004.10.04
I'm shocked by all of you who think a fistfight was an option I might have considered in that situation, but I guess I'm pleased by all of you who think I'm such a he-man that I could have punched him out if I'd wanted to! :-)

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.10.04
I suspect that some of the people suggesting a fist-fight are the same mean-spirited drivers intolerant of cyclists on roads.

McChris [chris cxe infobong punkto com] • 2004.10.04
Prentiss, are you implying there might be some out there who don't think you're a he-man?

ataraxy [ataraxy cxe graduallydisappear punkto com] • 2004.10.05
As a cyclist I feel obligated to apologize for the guy hitting your daughter. Ive been on the recieving end of it from cars and know how endangering and disrespectful it can be. Cyclists should yield to everyone, everyone yields to equestrians, motorized yield to non motorized. As nonmotorized traffic we've got a higher duty to get along with one another.

HerbyBurby [jamesdlavi cxe yahoo punkto com] • 2004.10.05
The cyclists I know hate when this kind of stuff happens. It gives our chosen lifestyle a bad name

Hayduke [zoopzootemelk cxe hotmail punkto com] • 2004.10.07
Update: The cyclist found me via my letter to the Statesman and got in touch to apologize for the accident and for his words afterward. He said that he was disoriented by the accident and wouldn't have said those things if he'd been himself.

I'm very impressed that he had the class and the guts to apologize. It means a lot to me and to my daughters. Thanks, man.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.10.13
It does take guts to seek someone out to apologize. It's so nice to be reminded that even rude people have good in them!

Fermeen [fermeenf cxe yahoo punkto com] • 2004.10.20
I still have the scar from the accident. It hurt, and I'm stll afraid of being hit two years later.

Malini Riddle • 2006.10.23
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