E-mail #2, sent 6/1/98:

I got side swiped by a taxi on 57 Street Saturday afternoon.

On my way back from a bicycle ride up to Nyack, favouring one knee, I decided to forgo riding through Central Park in order to avoid the hills. I went right down the west side and crossed midtown Manhattan on 57th street, headed for the Queensborough Bridge. Between 5th and Madison Avenues a taxi came from behind, passing me on the left, quickly cutting into my path. I was utterly shocked to find myself up against the yellow side of a cab. I’d been riding with traffic; not speeding; not holding things up; over to the right. I recall the merest moment of recognition that, with both hands firmly holding the bars, I was being swept out of control. The next moment my head slammed against the pavement. A moment later I paused in disbelief and then looked down from my prone position at the back of a fleeing taxi, one of a sea of yellow cabs.

Was that the one that just did this? I couldn’t be sure. No one was stopping. I laid stunned for a minute. It was a crime.

A good Samaritan came to help. Silently I motioned to him to take the bicycle to the sidewalk. Then he came back and gingerly helped me to my feet. This was midtown. Nobody said a word. My Samaritan slipped away. All witnesses gone.

A man in a business suit and sun glasses and I had a brief, steely, silent conversation of looks as I examined the mangled forks and wrecked front wheel of the bicycle. Shortly after that I was by myself, waiting for a cop to come by.

It’s the classic joke, where are they when you need one? A patrol car drove by oblivious to gestures and calls. I stood there for a half hour, then gave up, walked the bicycle to the subway and rode it home.

I escaped with hardly a scratch though I landed hard on my coccyx and it is now horribly sore, but no sharp pains any where. There is a wicked split in the back of my helmet. Once again I marvel at the protection a helmet offers and feel an immense sense of gratitude to be up and around. Since the accident many muscles have become annoyingly sore. Last night was the worse. Today is much better. Took the bicycle to a shop yesterday. If I get off with replacing a fork and wheel I’ll be grateful. We’ll see what they say.