The driver who hit me* last Monday in the self-proclaimed “family friendly” metro Atlanta suburb-city of Dunwoody, Georgia on a residential road was driving a 2015 Lincoln MKX (according to the police report), which is a vehicle that is 67″ high and weighs 4,251 to 4,429 lbs (without people or stuff in it). I am 61″ tall (lower when I am on a road bike), and 56 years old. My bike, noodle, helmet, and I together weigh 147 pounds.
The publicly-available police report includes admission she is the one who honked the horn that you can hear in this video. Plus, she admitted to the police officer who came to her home that she knew she hit me and therefore, after hitting a human being, knowingly did not stop (you can hear me screaming at the top of my lungs in that video).
The damage to her luxury SUV, consistent with an indisputable hit of me, was documented by the police as well.
The fact that I was miraculously able to remain upright no doubt saved my life (you can see how close to going down I came in the slow-mo footage of the point-of-impact below), as there were two other cars behind her (the driver and passenger of one of which served as witnesses and gave statements to the police).
Please note that this person may still be out there driving, and you or your children may encounter her as you are Traveling at the Speed of Bike during the biggest bike boom since the 1970s (see Bikes Are the New Toilet Paper).
Note that the hit-and-run happened almost directly in front of an orthodox synagogue where you would find it hard to ride on a sidewalk on Saturdays, such as to go to the farmers market nearby if you are so inclined as a family, as most congregants walk to services. I was going to say to you to be extra careful, but those words alone will not get you where you need to go safely (and no, you cannot avoid the main roads in Dunwoody if you want to actually go places on your bike because we are not built on a grid. I limit my time on Tilly Mill Road to just a couple of unavoidable blocks before I turn into a super-hilly neighborhood and go “the long way home” every time I come home from that direction).
I could not have been more careful — and it didn’t matter. All the skills in the world won’t protect any of us from drivers who may be impaired, distracted or intentional in their illegal actions. (They did, however, help me survive**, along with God and/or guardian angels.)
Thank you to the women who have signed up for my free classes, delivered in three formats, the past couple of days. You have reminded me why I do what I do, and renewed my commitment to serve you in whatever way the journey next allows.
In twenty years, this will still be the first time a driver in the first city in the southeastern United States with a Vulnerable Road User Ordinance received a citation for violating it (in addition to a hit-and-run criminal charge and failure-to-give-three-feet lane violation). Does that ordinance have teeth? Will it actually save lives and make our streets safer for all? Does it matter?
* I wasn’t “buzzed,” as I was in a story I included in my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike. I was hit.
** These would have been my final words, in a video I had recorded less than five minutes prior to the crimes as part of my volunteer participation in a safe driver course that the statewide bike advocacy group, Georgia Bikes, is making with its past president, Joe Seconder, who is now my city councilor: