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This Week in Bike Commuting Urban Legends

by Melanie Colavito

Urban legend: a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true [Wikipedia].

Urban legends permeate our lives.  Many towns, groups, parents, teachers, spouses, you name it, have some kind of urban legend they use to make points, create feelings, or just entertain.

Urban legends may or may not have any truth to them.  One might be entirely true and another wickedly false.  Oh, and they don’t have to be urban either.  But it doesn’t matter.  People love them.  And quite frankly, you never know when one is just going to fall right into your lap.

For example, I was browsing my social medias yesterday when I stumbled upon this headline, “Cyclist: Driver didn’t see me stuck in windshield”.

Wait, what?

Immediately, we know a few things about this story.  One, it is obviously urban legend material.  Two, the cyclist has made a statement, and that means he or she is likely ok, at least alive.  Three, there was a cyclist stuck in a driver’s windshield.  Four, the driver didn’t see the cyclist.  Therefore, the driver is either blind, deaf, high, drunk, idiotic, or some combination of all those factors.

Screenshot from Statesman Journal video report

Do we really even need to know anything else at this point?  We have an urban legend on our hands.  Well, who wouldn’t be a little curious?

Before I go any farther, I must congratulate the town of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for earning itself a most excellent new urban legend.  And for you people doing urban legend research a million years from now reading this blog post, yes, this one is true.

So apparently, a Manitowoc man doing newspaper deliveries by bike was struck by a 20-year-old drunk driver.  During the accident, Steven Gove, the newspaper deliveryman became lodged in the windshield of the car that hit him.  Ever the polite Midwesterner, Gove turned to the man who hit him, and said, “Hello, I’m the guy you hit on the bicycle.”

Unfortunately, the driver will now ruin our stereotype of the polite Midwesterner.  He didn’t even respond to Gove, or notice him for that matter, kept driving, and managed to run a stop sign and hit a parked car before making it to his driveway at home.  How rude.

The drunk driver finally noticed Gove when he got home and apparently demanded to know, “Who are you?  What are you doing in the car?” before totally freaking out.  Well, I guess it would have been quite the surprise to find a stranger lodged in your windshield.

So long story short, the driver went inside his house, Gove extricated himself from the car, and went to the hospital with minor injuries.  He’s going to press charges, but he hopes that the driver, “gets a second chance”.  Sorry, but I disagree on that one.

Screenshot from Statesman Journal video report

I’m glad I can make light of this story, because it could have been so much worse, and considering what happened, it’s truly amazing that Gove is ok.  But I guess that is what really makes this urban legend material, right?  It sounds completely insane and impossible.  Not all urban legends have happy endings, but I’m glad this one does.

So what’s your favorite cycling or bike commuting urban legend?  Besides this one, of course.

If you are so inclined, or haven’t done so already, watch the full report of this story below.

 
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7 Responses to “This Week in Bike Commuting Urban Legends”

  1. Jeff Gardner says:

    Great! Since the poor guy was moving in commerce, a deep pockets lawsuit can create a new, real, urban legend: the multi-million dollar settlement.

  2. Matt says:

    Please send this to a the Daily Show or Colbert Report.

  3. Apparently I’m not the only one thinking about urban legends lately. Huffington Post just reviewed a number of common ones. Swallowing spiders in your sleep: real or myth?

  4. Kevin Love says:

    “During the accident…”

    Huh, what??!!

    This was a very serious crime of violence, definitely not an accident.

    • Kevin,
      You’re right. The word “accident” gets misused all the time. A traffic accident usually isn’t an accident, so much as someone’s mistake, error, fault, crime. But unfortunately, the word “accident” has made it’s way into a lot of discourse on these incidents, including mine. But duly noted, thanks.

  5. John says:

    While the happy ending makes it easy to be “funny” wasn’t there just the opposite story on the news about a cyclist hit by a drunk driver, removed from the car after driving a few miles, and hidden under some leaves and left for dead?

    I don’t want to be mr. killjoy, but this is like laughing about a murder victim who commicly survives a stabbing.

    • John, you make a very good point. I really wasn’t viewing this as funny so much as remarkable, impossible, or downright crazy. Hence my urban legend comparison. I had to stop and put myself in Mr. Gove’s shoes. I would be absolutely enraged, in shock, likely crying my eyes out, and probably screaming like a banshee at the driver. His response is so calm, cool, and level-headed, that I can’t help but laugh (maybe not so much a funny laugh as an uncomfortable, awkward one) at the impossibility of it all. But that’s what makes it so legendary in my eyes. But no, you’re right. It’s not funny. It’s crazy and scary.

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