Wed 2 Feb 2011
I was reminded the day before yesterday that biking isn’t just good for you, it can be good for others, too.
Fast-backward with me to March 2009 when I saw a traffic accident occur at 3rd and Commonwealth (read my post all about it, here) and stopped to be of assistance and come forward as a witness. What was unique about my capacity as that witness is that I later learned that I had conclusive proof who was at fault. With my handlebarcam timelapsing the ride as usual, and me also testing a separate digital recording device on the way in to work that morning I had both audio — and more importantly a physical visual of a definitive moment immediately prior to the impact that determined who was at fault.
At issue was who did and did not have the right of way. Was it the first party westbound on 3rd and making a left to go south on Commonwealth, or was it the second party heading east on 3rd across Commonwealth? The first party, who you hear me talking to shortly after the impact was pretty sure, it was the second party. And frankly, I wasn’t certain he was wrong until I looked at the timelapse later and saw the following two frames (both slightly enlargeable):
In the top frame you see my cam has captured the second party’s car just as its nosed over the crosswalk and into the intersection, and in the bottom frame there’s juuuuusssst a little bit of the rear of the vehicle visible all the way over on the left edge of the frame, a fraction of a second before the collision. What’s also visible is the indisputable fact that the cross street light is red.
When my testimony was taken I told the interviewer that with absolute certainty, the 3rd Street light was not red when the eastbound party entered the intersection and thus had the right of way.
Fast-forward with me to this Monday. I’m sitting at my desk having another of a string of hellacious days of what will be an hellacious workweek and the phone rings. Is it someone from the office wanting to know why I’m sucking so exceptionally at the moment or is it a telemarketer? Neither. Instead, it’s the son of the elderly couple who were in the Ford sedan pictured above. I’d spoken with him shortly after the accident when he called to thank me for coming to his parents’ assistance, and he was calling again almost two years later at the request of his mom and dad who thought of me now that the case is getting closer to a settlement and asked him to ring me up express their gratitude for me doing something that’s a total given for me: being of help to someone in need.
And in a way they did the same thing for me by reaching out to say thanks. Given how much I’ve been colliding with myself mentally this past few pressurized weeks , I couldn’t've asked for a nicer attaboy to brighten my day.