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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hit By A PAT bus on my bike

It is hard to pick a first sentence, but: While riding my bicycle in Sharpsburg on Sunday 2/24/13 at 0934, I was struck from behind by a PAT bus that was passing me.

The second sentence should definitely be: I'm all right, no injury, and the bike is OK (in any order).

How to tell the story? A chronological sequence of who-what-when, particularly in Sunday's interactions, would be a diary of bungled communications, lousy policy and a lot of feelings. The first-day 911-PAT response was tremendously disappointing but it eventually moved into an acceptable range, and so it's not as relevant now.

I would summarize the mishegoss with these universals:

  • Events of Saturday night and Sunday morning usually involve junior people with predictable results, and when the experienced people come to work on Monday things get better.
  • Verbal reports passed through intermediaries into documents are rarely effective, but sitting and meeting with people face-to-face is wonderfully effective.
  • Confusion, bad communication, and inertia explain more than malevolence.

These Photoshop kludges depict the collision. They are not real photos. The PAT bus drove up behind myself (the yellow dot) and another bicyclist (the green dot).

When the bus accelerated to pass me, the front-right corner of the bus hit the back of my bicycle. This is a depiction of the collision geometry:

And then the bus driver continued driving on his way, and I pulled over and called 911 to report a hit-and-run. At the instant of co-location I was doing about 12mph and the bus was doing 22 mph. I felt a strong bump and a marked acceleration, and after he passed me I pulled over.

It was thrilling in the way of an unexpected roller-coaster experience and it left me very agitated. The EMT who checked me out said my blood pressure was 160/100.

And that's my story. As to the rest, the response and the process and the denouement, that's another story that begins with Roshomon, passes through the Panopticon, and ends with the recent Russian meteor. I didn't get killed or hurt. More to come.


  1. Was the driver ever made aware that he/she hit you? There's simply no excuse for them not giving you enough room.

  2. Thank goodness you weren't injured. Bus/bike interaction can be very unforgiving. I hope for a satisfactory resolution.

  3. Sorry to hear about your brush with the bus. That stretch of road has always made me nervous, but I'm rarely over in that part of town so it's easy to avoid.
    I hope that you've been able to get back on the bike, though you may pay special attention to buses in the mirror...

    Bob H