I got hit by a car last week. A silver Prius.
I'm glad it happened. Even though it really hurt and still does. I'm limping around 10 days later.
It was a timely reminder not to ride my bicycle like a moron. A 40km/h wakeup call to the upper right thigh.
I can't help thinking it could have been much worse. A bus, truck or Audi Q7.
I blame the accident on a combination of things. The excellent new bike lanes around Auckland, a podcast on "How Frogs Work", a red arrow-ignoring driver and me.
Like the kiwi, takahe and Codfish Island South Georgian diving petrel, bike riders like myself have grown useless due to our favourable habitat.
You get complacent on the pink, rainbow and green tracks with See, Share, Smile written on them. The cute bike-shaped stop and go make you feel special.
In a car, bus and truck-free environment you can lose your road survival instincts.
So when you return to the real world you can end up on your arse under a Prius.
Not that you shouldn't look where you're going on the bike lanes too. The other day I ran into a road cone while riding Te Ara I Whiti passing under K Rd. That also really hurt.
Cars have all kinds of entertainments and comforts at your fingertips. My bike ride home is hard, boring and 100 per cent uphill. It takes ages. It's tempting to put a pair of headphones on to pass the time. So I do.
I figure music's too loud and dangerous. You're not going to hear a car coming. So I go for podcasts. Mostly it's "Stuff You Should Know" from "How Stuff Works".
Unfortunately a really interesting podcast is also really distracting. Last week after leaving the Pink Lightpath and heading up the bike lane on Canada St, I was looking to cross Upper Queen and head up towards Newton Rd.
Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant of Stuff You Should Know were discussing the frog's digestive system.
I was thinking to myself "wow frogs use the back of their huge eyeballs to push food down their throats to swallow". When I should have been thinking "I wonder if that Toyota will ignore that red arrow and plough straight into me".
I shouldn't have been listening to a frog podcast. I shouldn't have been trying to cross the road from where I was. There is a bike path to follow up my side of the road and a special bike crossing on the other side. It was stupid. Equally the Prius driver should have stopped for his red arrow.
But in the end it doesn't matter who is right or wrong when you are on a bicycle.
You can be right on a bike and also get horrifically injured or killed.
You can get angry at the way those little Dominion Rd Isuzu freezer truckers swing their driver doors open without looking. But who's the bigger loser when you end up under a bus?
You have to have your wits about you at all times. You have to assume everyone is trying to kill you.
As a father of two children and a dog it's my duty to try to stay alive until my boys reach adulthood.
Riding around on a bike listening to super-interesting frog podcasts while racing off pink lightpaths half looking where I'm going isn't a great way to do that.
That's why I'll be listening to less interesting podcasts from now on like "The Hauraki Breakfast Daily Podcast with Matt and Jerry".
If you're lucky enough to get hit by a Prius at pace and live to talk about it, then great.
It's a good reminder to zone in when you are on a bike.
Hopefully me getting hit will motivate others to look where they are going too. The risks are too high if you don't.
So stay safe out there. Be vigilant. Bad stuff can happen in the blink of an eye.
Interestingly, the leopard frog can catch an insect with its tongue in .07 of a second. Which is five times faster than the blink of a human eye.