The Chainlink

A Few Fun Facts from My Commute Tonight: Skirtsplaining & A Near-Dooring That Ended in a Flip-Flop Shaming

So the worst part about the driver tonight that opened their door so fast that I had to swerve on my bike into traffic to avoid getting hit by one inch, totally convinced even as I swerved barely out of thee ways that I was going to flip over my handlebars, was when the woman who did it MOCKED the noise I made after it happened, mimicking my scream of surprise and fear that I cried in her direction while she was getting out of her car.

The second worst part was when I tried to explain what she did was illegal and that I was going to take her information and report her - despite the fact that she didn't MEAN to, that she didn't ACTUALLY hit me - was when she cussed me out and called me white trash.

But the best part was the biker dude who was 100 feet away and saw it all happen, who yelled at her about how she almost killed me, demanding, "Do you even know anything about bicycle safety?" responded to her white trash comment. "She's white trash? She looks great! You're the one wearing sweatpants and flip-flops!"

The moral of the story is always look out of your window and mirrors before you open your door no matter where you are. Opening your door into traffic without looking is still breaking the law, especially when it recklessly endangers a cyclist. Even when you're lucky and DON'T kill them, even when you didn't mean to.

The second moral of the story is that there's really nothing wrong with wearing flip-flops and leggings unless you happen to be wearing them after almost killing a cyclist and then calling that cyclist white trash when she's telling you that you almost killed her.

Also, before this happened I was going to tweet something more casual and lighthearted about the helmetless bike messenger dude I passed earlier on my trip who called out to me, "Better sit on your dress!" as if I don't know what to do with my legs and skirt and bike, as if I've never biked in a dress before or in the wind before or in a dress in the wind before. I don't need your gross advice.

So yeah, everyone out on the road tonight, specifically the two jokers from my stories above: Do better. NOT KILLING SOMEONE should not be a POINT OF PRIDE. NOT MEANING TO is not an excuse for ALMOST HITTING SOMEONE WITH YOUR CAR. There's a measure of responsibility at play in every single form of transportation, whether it's walking, biking, public transit, or driving. You are responsible for WHAT YOU DO, not what you very narrowly avoided.

EDIT: I also want to add that the driver who called me white trash was also white woman who clearly didn't have the time or the imagination to come up with a better, more specific insult for me.

((Originally posted on my Facebook.)) 


But speaking of advice, I did take a picture of this driver's license plate. Is this enough to file a report? Any suggestions? Thanks.

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Don't even bother reporting it.  The police do not care.  I also had a license plate of a driver who tried to hit me after my presence in the bike lane prevented her from making a right turn on at a red light (ironically a no turn on red intersection).  But because I wasn't actually hit, there was "nothing they could do."  I think even with video, the police would still turn it away.  Hope your week gets better.  Womenswear just confounds men.  My male coworker wondered out loud about women cycling in skirts are distracting as one rode by in her over-the-knee length skirt.  Well I guess if the sight of bare shins are distracting, then shorts-wearing pedestrians better watch out, too.

I wonder if you have first hand knowledge of this. If you go to a police station to report a traffic accident they are required to take the report. If they refuse, ask to speak to a supervisor. There certainly may be individual officers who don't follow the rules, but this should not stop a citizen from making a report. 

That's correct.

Women distracting men with their bare legs and arms! Shameful.

Yes, you should report it.

Never mind- sent a private message.
Oh my gosh!! We are neighbors! That's so funny. Nice to see you on here!
Haha yeah small world!

I agree. You should report it to the police. They will resist. Demand for them to properly document and accept your report. It also may be helpful if you report it to the 'Close Call Database'.

Absolutely submit it to the Close Call Database. I shut mine down earlier this year and I hope they've built a sustainable system to collect and publicize close calls. Close calls are almost as intimidating to potential new cyclists as actual crashes: they happen more often, are very stressful, but there's no physical injury. 

I don't think reporting it to the police will do any good. It's not a crash, so it won't appear in those statistics. I would be surprised if they even take your report. 

Would you consider turning this story into a letter to the editor, and submitting that to CT, CST, DNA, and Reader?

Too bad you had to shut yours down: the new one doesn't offer any kind of maps, and to date there are only a handful of local reports...  But he's also only collecting reports of deliberately dangerous drivers' actions, which I think is actually the smaller part of the problem. 

Guess I just miss all your data! :(


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