There’s been many an interesting moment since signing on to driver with Uber. But one that has forever left a dent in the experience (pun intended) is when a Citi Bike cyclist ran into the front of my vehicle one Saturday night near Herald Square! Let me preface this with: NO, I WAS NOT ON MY PHONE; and, YES, IT WAS COMPLETELY HIS FAULT. There, now that that’s out of the way, here’s the story:
I was coming to the close of a really busy night getting people safely to and from their destinations. My fares earned had been in the $200 ballpark, and I remember thinking, “I just need one more fare to reach my goal, then I’m going home!” I received a request to pick up a passenger on 32nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Notoriously crowded area that the Herald Square/Madison Square Garden neighborhoods are, I hoped that the passenger would get in right away so I wouldn’t have to hold up traffic too much on the street. She jumped in, I confirmed where she was headed, and as the Saturday night traffic inched forward, I started to accelerate towards THE GREEN LIGHT giving the go ahead to cross 6th Avenue. Well, in a split second, coming from some other unexpected direction, a guy on a Citi Bike rode directly into the front left of my SUV!
Let me start off with, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HORRIFIC IT IS for someone to run into your vehicle, even if they are alright after the impact. It was a blessing that I wasn’t driving any faster than I was, because of the traffic, but a total cursed moment that the guy would be so foolish to ride a bike SOUTHBOUND on a NORTHBOUND street while his light was red. He was asking for the type of trouble where you end up UNDER a car, if you ask me.
Long story short, and needless to say, I nor my passenger was hurt during the accident, and when the NYPD arrived after I called 911 to complete the accident report, the Citi Bike renter said that he himself was not injured and admitted to causing the accident. (I have the accident report corroborating that he was at fault.) The guy, a 22 year old kid with two other friends of his, mumbled some sort of apology about not meaning to hit me, but I was highly pissed that my brand new Honda CRV now had a dent on the hood. A dent for which he had no insurance to submit a claim. A dent that would cause my insurance to skyrocket if I made a claim to get it fixed.
I don’t know if the guy was drunk. I don’t know if he rode into me on purpose. I don’t know if he’s just clumsy and foolish for riding the wrong way into oncoming traffic. What I do know is that I’m left with a superficial dent on my hood to fix out of pocket (about $1,000) and he got to walk away from it fault free (despite the police report).
Uber Support did their part to call immediately and check up on me (as well as my passenger, who had canceled the trip by indicating in the Uber app that there had been an accident). The support rep asked a series of questions to see if I had been hurt or if my SUV had been irreparably damaged. As neither was the case, they asked me to send photos of the vehicle and a copy of the police report for their records. But after a couple of phone calls and a couple of emails, there was really nothing more they could do.
So, at this point, I’m super cautious when I’m driving near bikers. Here in NYC, they seem to have a different sort of reality they exist in when navigating the road with cars. Seriously, I’ve seen bikers do some very silly and dangerous things while sharing the road, and it can cause a driver to go mad! But, safety is always most important, and if I can prevent any more accidents from taking place, then I will start with looking out for every biker on a big blue bicycle near my car!