Friday, August 14, 2009

I got hit by a car!

A cracked tailbone, fractured wrist, sprained rotator cuff, scrapes, sore muscles and ear infections. These are injuries I have sustained from sports. The culprits? Step class, volleyball, in-line skating, skiing and swimming. I have a new injury to report, garnered during a sport that is seemingly injury-proof: Walking. Yes, good ole equipment-free and teammate-less walking. No one to crash into me as we both dive for the ball. No step to trip over. No flying objects to hit me on the head. The one thing I did not expect to injure me was a side-view mirror.

It was an hour or so before sunset on a warm and breezy summer day. Perfect Florida weather for a walk. And what better place than near the water? So I parked my car on the west side of the Lake Worth Bridge and began to walk across it. I admired the beauty of the Intracoastal/Lake Worth as I walked eastward toward the ocean. At the traffic light at A1A, I headed south on the sidewalk that runs parallel to Lake Worth.

The sidewalk was under construction, with large chunks removed and barricades scattered every 30 feet or so. I decided to join the other people out for walks and jogs on the bicycle lane, a 3-foot wide stretch that shares the pavement of the road itself. A white strip of paint separates the bike lane from the car lane. State Road A1A is a two-lane road with not very much traffic at this time of year and day. I did not think twice about my choice to walk on this lane. Perhaps I should have.

I was energized from the current song on my iPod: Traffic and Weather by Fountains of Wayne. So energized was I that I was pumping my arms up near my chest. It's a good thing my arms weren't swinging down by my body, because next thing I knew, I felt something crack me in my left hip as a clean white sedan brushed past close to my body. My hip was smarting as I watched the car continue its path south on A1A, its side-view mirror tipped and in danger of falling off. Dazed, I pulled myself to the right onto the grass between the bike lane and the sidewalk. I had my eyes on the car as its left turn signal blinked and it slowed down but did not stop. I raised my arms in a "WTF" gesture, and I believe I verbalized it as well. The car continued. Momentum kept me walking as well. I was also shaking and starting feel a little headachy (from the adrenaline, friends later suggested).

I made a couple of phone calls to friends to report the news. I thought it was so bizarre that a car got that close to me, hit me with its mirror, and continued along its merry way. My friend Carol (an editor at the Palm Beach Daily News) persuaded me to call the police to report the crime. After all, a crime it was. She gave me the number for the town police, and I called about 10-15 minutes after I was struck. I gave the details to the dispatcher, and soon after, an officer arrived in his squad car.

Officer Pina took my name, my statement, my address, etc., and asked if I wanted Fire-Rescue to come and take a look at my injuries. I told him no. All that was hurting was my hip (actually, turns out to be my upper buttox, which is nicely padded, thank you very much), and a bruise seemed to be my only injury. As Pina and I were talking, a patrol car from South Palm Beach pulled up to tell us that he had no luck spotting the car with the broken side-view mirror. "He's long gone," said the SPB officer. Hearing this, I wish I'd been more vigilant about noticing the plate number or calling the cops sooner. I was convinced, though, that the driver was going to stop.

Officer Pina did not fault me for not noticing the license plate. He "just wanted to make sure I was all right," he told me. He asked if I knew anyone who could come and pick me up and bring me to my car. He was concerned I'd feel all right for part of my return trip over the bridge but then fall over halfway there. So I called my roommate, who arrived about 15 minutes later to return me to my car.

I drove home, took a shower, and iced my hip. I kept checking the full-length mirror for signs of a bruise but have not seen one so far. When I touch the spot, it feels sore. So far, I've had no other ill effects. Well, maybe one. I'm a little gun-shy about taking another walk soon on A1A.


Anonymous John Nelander said...

Something similar happened to me in that exact spot -- 20 years ago. I was on my bike, riding south from Lake Worth Road. No earphones. I felt a car coming a little too close to me on the road, and had the sensation of the car right-side mirror brushing against my arm. Oh yes, there was contact. But it was like a light scrape on the left shoulder.

Another quarter inch, I would have been bounced off the road. I looked up at the car as it was going passed. Elderly woman, oblivious to what had just happened. Could barely see over the steering wheel.

Another time on A1A going north to Lake Worth Road, bunch a teens through cups of ice at me on my bike.

Lovely sort along that road, I must say.

- John Nelander

Saturday, 15 August, 2009  
Blogger Carrie said...

Are you feeling better? I hope so! That's crazy! I think I'll avoid the A1A! Have I told you I miss your happy face?

Sunday, 16 August, 2009  

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