Taxi Strikes Cyclist Who Happens To Be Me

It had to happen sooner or later given the jungle-like chaos of Market Street.  You may have witnessed it yourselves from time to time, or possibly have been inconvenienced while waiting on piled-up Muni buses from an occurrence several blocks ahead.  You just never expect it to happen to you.

First, a little back story:  I was hustling down Market on my bicycle as I usually do and crossed New Montgomery onto that weird block where vehicles in the right lane turn onto 2nd Street while the cheese-gratered left lane is reserved for through-traffic.  Knowing this, I stayed in the left lane while also being careful to avoid the treacherous Muni tracks and BART vents when all of a sudden a taxi cab pulled out directly in front of me from the line of cars waiting in the right lane. 

I only had time to yell before I collided with the window above the rear left door side and tumbled onto the pavement (I’m sure his passenger was quite surprised as well).  I popped back up (as many bikers do instantly after getting in accidents of various severity–why does this happen so often???) and walked over to the side of the road where a bunch of bystanders immediately came over to see how I was doing. 

I was actually overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who stopped to help.  One kind woman even offered to take me upstairs to her office so I could wash up in the restroom (my elbow was bleeding quite a bit).  Another person walked by and asked what happened, to which a witness responded, “That crazy taxi just hit that guy!”  Someone else said, “I’m calling the police.”  Just as I mumbled, “Oh, please don’t do that,” a squad car pulled up behind and buzzed the siren.

Before I could say anything, another person exclaimed “That taxi over there hit him!”  The officer asked if I was injured and required any medical attention, but I said I just needed something to soak up my now quite-bloody arm, which he quickly provided.  Then he went over to get the taxi driver who had been waiting in his cab after pulling to the curb.  Since I wasn’t too badly hurt, the officer said he was just going to provide collision information cards for the driver to fill out in case I woke up the next day and couldn’t move.

The cab driver, a young and polite African fellow, was terrified, however.  While the officer was getting the cards from his car, the cabbie pleaded with me, begging me not to report anything, saying he would lose his job and imploring me with sad details about his family.  He kept repeating “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you, please, tell the man, please,” over and over again.  I told him I felt fine and didn’t think I would have to make a statement or anything, but I just wanted his info as a precaution in case I ended up with some freak injury once the adrenalin wore off.  At the same time, I also warned him that he needed to be much more careful in the future, especially on a crazy street like Market, and that the move he pulled would have been unsafe under any circumstances.

With the situation resolved, we all went on our separate ways.  Hopefully the whole incident left a lasting impression on the cab driver so he drives a little more carefully from now on!  It’s not like he did it on purpose, but there’s a reason why cabbies in this city have such a notorious reputation.  As for me, hopefully my sore elbow won’t affect my drumming during the recording we’re planning on doing in the coming weeks.  It could easily have been much worse, so I’m happy that we were all able to walk away and go about the rest of our day.  Be careful out there, folks!

Previously:

Pedestrian Struck by Taxi on Market; Muni gives up

Cyclist Down at Fremont and Market

Cyclist Dead After Hit and Run Collision

Creep In An SUV Targeted 4 Cyclists Last Night

Author: Andrew Sarkarati

caution is the path to mediocrity. gliding, passionless mediocrity is all that most people think they can achieve.

24 thoughts on “Taxi Strikes Cyclist Who Happens To Be Me”

  1. I’m glad to you’re ok! So many cyclists get hit in SF, it’s kind of just a matter of time when you are a cyclist.

    As someone who has been hit, I did what you did, but listened to the pedestrian who called the police who filled out a formal report. I was thankful, because the collision left me walking on a cane for 3 months.

    You’re a nice guy for not filling a report, sure, but sorry nice African cabbie-it’s drivers like you who run over my friends with no consequences all the time.

    I hate to be an angry cyclist person, I really do, but I feel like maybe if cyclists pursued damages from these cab companies, maybe they would be more aware and better drivers? Maybe not? Sigh.

    1. Glad you’re ok (or think you’re ok), but listen: the nice cabbie wasn’t so nice when he was hitting you! No kidding he didn’t see you– he wasn’t paying attention. Of course he didn’t mean it, but that’s why it’s called an accident. So it *was* an accident, and it *was* his fault, and his pleading might indicate that he’s a nice guy, but it doesn’t change the situation. He needs to be reported and cited.

  2. Totally agree with above comments. The pleading is lame, honestly. This is why drivers have insurance. I’ve been hit several times and each time the driver either bolted the scene (hit and run) or claimed no-fault. Interestingly most of the time the cops sided with the driver saying that “biking is dangerous.” I’m sorry but I have little sympathy when a reckless cabbie pleads for anything. The last accident cost me my two wheels, a frame straightening and an ambulance ride to the trauma ward b/c the EMTs thought I broke my back. May not be intentional but reckless drivers are dangerous to bikers. One word: insurance. Don’t drive without it. Suffer the consequences when you hit someone. And don’t be so damn reckless!

    1. The cops saying “biking is dangerous” is like telling a rape victim “your skirt is too short” or a mugging victim “it’s a rough neighborhood.” Fuck that. That’s just lazy cops who don’t want the paperwork.

  3. i have to agree that this should be reported, a police report should be filled out and you should file a claim with his insurance company as well as the cab company. he may be a nice guy, but he was driving dangerously and could have seriously hurt or killed you. maybe this is the first time it’s happened, maybe not. in the interest of making the road safer for you and all the other cyclists out there, i think it’s best to report this kind of stuff.

  4. That’s a shitty intersection and you’re lucky you weren’t hurt more seriously. I agree that you should follow up with their insurance and the cab company. Yeah it sucks that he has a family but it also sucks that your elbow’s bloody because you got hit by his car. Neither would be an issue if he’d have looked over his fucking shoulder before putting his foot on the gas pedal. Maybe if you send a little grief his way he’ll be more careful in the future.

  5. It’s nice to see how San Franciscan’s react helpfully to folks in bike wrecks. I crashed on 18th St due to operator error and people were helpful, offered rides, etc. this is often a very friendly city.

  6. so. i was t-boned (tee-boned?) by a car around 2nd and folsom about a year ago. i also popped right the fuck up. was immediately dazed but thought i was ok. talked to the guy, got his number and was like “we’ll deal with it tomorrow” (i was on the way to a job interview, after having been recently laid off and REALLY did not want to miss it). i started to walk away and realized my bike was so mangled i could not roll it.

    walked a block away, turned around and went back. guy was still there so i filed a police report.

    good thing too, because i ended up in the hospital the next morning due to extreme back and neck pain.

    a year later and i’m still in constant pain. i’m 24, and i feel like a fucking 60 year old…

    basically, without the police report i would have been shit out of luck for 5 grand of medical bills.

    moral? no moral. but kids– get that fucking police report.

  7. “So many cyclists get hit in SF, it’s kind of just a matter of time when you are a cyclist”

    So why ride your bike in this city then? There is a reason why people call motorcylists “organ donors”. We all know you can go as fast on a bicycle in this town. Grow up, get a real job and buy a car. Dont conform to hipster ideals, they will get you killed.

    1. wow, that’s messed up, but i see your point. i used to ride a motorcycle as my primary means of transportation, but realized that i needed a ten-ton tank to protect me from all the crazy drivers in SF.

      i don’t see how growing up and getting a real job has anything to do with riding a bicycle, cranky pants.

    2. A bicycle does not go anywhere near as fast as a motorcycle.
      Due to the lower speed and mass of a bicycle, it can stop much more quickly than a motorcycle.
      Riding a bicycle is fun.
      Riding a bicycle is good exercise and keeps you toned.
      A bicycle doesn’t ever need expensive repairs that you can’t do yourself.
      A bicycle doesn’t need fuel and doesn’t emit anything.

      It sounds like you’re the one who needs to grow up.

      1. “Due to the lower speed and mass of a bicycle, it can stop much more quickly than a motorcycle.”

        Sadly, both the bicycle and the motorcycle will stop at the same time and place if they run into an unexpected obstacle. The only significant variables in such a case are the speeds of the obstacle and your body. Either way, on a bicycle or on a motorcycle, 20 mph or 40 mph, I wouldn’t want to be an unprotected flesh balloon flying through the air.

    3. I hate riding bicycles in this city and therefore don’t. But having a car here is completely wasteful unless you work out of town or maybe if you have kids. Walking is just as healthy as riding a bike and you know what? The public transportation here isn’t really as bad as people make it out to be, especially coming from a place where it’s practically non-existent (Texas).

  8. This almost happened to me on Saturday during all the fleet week craziness near the marina/northbeach. Cabby tried to squeeze us out of our lane (which we were riding on the side of) and then honked at us and sped by. I pedaled up to his window, made him roll it down and reminded him that bicycles are entitled to a full lane, and that he needs to follow the law. He agreed. Glad you weren’t seriously injured!!!

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