I suppose that there are really only two types of bicyclists in this world; those that have been hit by a car, and those that will be. For me, I joined the first group a few weeks ago. Granted, it was little more than a love tap on the pannier, but it was very annoying.
I was just starting the "cross town sprint" that I make about 3 days a week, when I go from one job to the other. I had just pulled up to a stop light on a single lane road when I felt a significant nudge forward and to the right. As I looked over to my left, a young female in an older green Chevy Cavalier pulls up next to me. Mind you, to do this, she needs to be straddling the double yellow line because I'm lawfully in the middle of the lane.
This is where the part of my job that involves me talking to large groups of people on a regular basis became her worst nightmare. It's bad enough that she hit someone who was riding a bicycle, but when you hit someone who knows how to project their voice so that everyone in the auditorium can hear them, chances are it isn't going to end well for the clueless driver.
So, not missing the opportunity to shut up, I proceeded to lay into her for her apparent thoughtlessness and general lack of intellect. She was positively aghast when I informed her that she had just hit me. When she asked if I was okay, I responded with "I'm fine, but you need to watch the hell where you are going!" From there, she proceeded to tell me some sob story about driving down from Chicago at 4:30am, just having surgery at the hospital we were near, and she was having trouble finding her way around town. Blah, blah, blah; excuses are like feet, we all have them, and they all smell.
Now, I like to think I am a fairly compassionate person. I've rescued my share of stray animals, administered first aid and patched people up at my own expense when they have been injured, given someone a spare tube out of my seat bag to fix a flat. But I didn't show too much of that side of me that morning. I didn't care where she was from, who she was looking for, or what she had just been through. Whatever her situation was, she made the misguided decision to get behind the wheel, and got chewed out for it.
Like I said earlier, I got a "gentle nudge" with her bumper, and many folks have made out much worse when car and bicycle meet. Just a word to the wise, be careful out there and pay attention to what is going on around you. There are people with cars and meat cleavers that are just aren't thinking straight. Being a loquacious loudmouth is just a bonus.