There's not a much better feeling than biking downhill away from work on a Friday. Whereas a lot of commuters get to their cars and then sit in traffic, idling within view of the building they've just left, I pedal away. A green at the first light almost always means I'll get the green at the next one and at that point I'm a half a mile downhill, well out of view from the office and the week is officially behind me. I don't feel this way when I drive.
There was a bike-car incident on Wilson that I didn't get to until after the cyclist was back on his feet. I pulled up and asked if the cyclist was ok. He assented. I asked what happened. He said that he slammed on the breaks and flipped over his handlebars. I didn't ask if the car hit him, but he didn't say so. I asked if he felt ok. He said that he did. I asked him if he was woozy He said he was all right. He told me that he landed on his helmet. He said that he felt ok and that his if lip wasn't bleeding, he was probably ok. I asked him if he needed to go to the hospital. He said no. I asked him again if he felt ok. I told him that he should check his helmet. I told him that if he felt later woozy, he should "call someone." I meant an ambulance or a doctor, but didn't say so. I didn't ask if he called the cops, but he didn't. I didn't asked if his bike was ok. That seemed incidental to his being ok, and by this point, he was back on his bike and riding next to me. He said that the car cut him off and he didn't have a rear view mirror. I'm still not sure what he meant. He said that he'd never been in an incident like this. I never had either, but I didn't tell him. He was in the bike lane and the car moved over the right, I think in anticipation of making an upcoming right turn. He told me that I could be his rear view mirror now. I didn't know what to make of that, so I said "yeah. even when we're in bike lanes, it can be dangerous." We rode a little more together. He said that he's normally used close calls with cars a little more up the road. I didn't ask for his name- I didn't really know if introductions were necessary or appropriate. I felt like I was bothering him with all my questions and I kind of felt like a jerk for not knowing how to take command of the situation. Should I have called the cops? Should I have insisted that he call an ambulance? He looked ok, but he also said that he landed on his helmet. Typically, that's not a good thing. I mean, better than landing on your, but, and maybe it's just all the football talk lately, head injuries are never good and never worth sloughing off. He told me to go on ahead. I went on ahead. I said, "Get home all right, man." Looking back, that seems trite. It seemed trite as soon as I said it. It was trite.
I don't know if I should have ridden with him longer. I don't know if that would have been helpful. He seemed ok. But if it were me, I probably would have done the same as him. I would have sloughed it off. I would have told some guy I didn't know that I was fine. I just hope he was fine. Knowing that would make me feel like less of an ass.