I was driving East on Broadway, coming home after a day on the fireworks barges, when I saw a bicyclist traveling along Broadway in the curb lane. This in itself isn’t unusual, but let’s add a few things to the mix:

  • No helmet
  • Using earbuds
  • Carrying a hockey stick
  • Approaching an intersection
  • The part that’s the most relevant to this scenario is the way the hockey stick was being carried. I don’t have an overhead image of a bicycle so I shall use this giant letter T to represent the bike, with the top crosspiece as the handlebars:
    Work with me here, okay?

    Instead of trying to carry the hockey stick along the length of the bike, the cyclist was holding onto it across the handlebars like so:
    Look at me, I've got a hockey stick!

    The cyclist was in the right (curb) lane, staying as far out of traffic as possible, but as we approached the intersection I could see there was going to be trouble because there was a lamp post on the corner. Consider, if you will, a stickless cyclist approaching an intersection where there’s a lamp post:
    I'll bet you can see where I'm going with this...

    Now think of what is likely to happen when you’re carrying a hockey stick across your handlebars, you’re approaching an intersection with a lamp post on the corner and you’re not paying attention to your surroundings:
    This could be painful!

    Sure enough, the stick connected with the lamp post and the cyclist performed an involuntary dismount at a 45 degree angle onto the road. Fortunately for him, he escaped without apparent injury because:

  • He performed a tuck-and-roll
  • He didn’t hit his (helmetless) head on anything
  • There were no cars in the curb lane to run him over
  • He got up and recovered his bike and hockey stick, and judging from his facial expression any physical pain he might have been feeling was no match for being publicly embarrassed in front of a group of pedestrians and other cyclists that saw him perform his little stunt.

    Thank goodness he wasn’t a bicycle courier because the sidewalks of downtown Vancouver would have been littered with the unconscious bodies of countless pedestrians.

    I hope he made it home okay, but I suppose it depended on whether or not he learned from what could have been a serious mistake that turned out to be nothing more than a relatively minor inconvenience.

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