Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: An open letter to the guy who ran into me with a Bird scooter

It was a chilly Friday morning — one of the first days of this school year that really felt like fall. I was on my way to take an intimidating music history exam that I was less than fully prepared for.

I was one of many pedestrians using the sidewalk on the campus side of Third Street. We were going downhill, approaching Jordan Avenue, with the East Studio Building of the music school just to our right.

I suddenly felt an impact on my back, right shoulder and right arm. It wasn’t anything drastic. I didn’t scream out in pain, but I certainly felt it.

I wasn’t left wondering about the impact, as I saw a Bird scooter, loosely connected to a human body in a blue hoodie, crash into the grass in front of me and to my right.

You had some momentum, so you traveled another 10 feet or so before your crash landing was complete.

I got ready to ask if you were OK. The scooter had gone through a much rougher fall to the ground than you had. You seemed to be fairly in control of your own trajectory, and you hadn’t made a sound, so I didn’t expect you would be injured. But I could at least check.

Then something funny happened. Without stopping to take a beat, you pick up your scooter and place it upright back on the sidewalk. It’s as if your burnout and your recovery are one smooth, uninterrupted motion.

I hadn't stopping walking this whole time, so at this point, I’m a mere three or four feet behind you. I think, surely now he will turn back to apologize for crashing into me, or at least give a look and a wave to acknowledge the incident.

Instead, you remounted your scooter and zoomed down the hill, still using the crowded sidewalk, weaving through foot traffic at an impressive velocity.

Not a word. Not a gesture. Not even a look. 

I was more amused and intrigued than I was incensed. There were several questions that kept swirling around my head after what was, I’m sure, only the first of many electric scooter hit-and-run incidents I will witness on this campus.

Were you just in too much of a rush to do anything? It was slightly past 11 a.m., so you could have been late for an 11 class, or rushing to an 11:15 class all the way on the other side of campus. Either way, would glancing back and saying “sorry” have made you significantly later?

Did you think I didn’t notice the electric scooter and full-grown man crashing directly into me? Or did you simply assume I wouldn’t care enough for it to be worth acknowledging?

But this is the most crucial question: what prevented you from using the spacious, unoccupied, prominently visible bike lane on the right side of Third Street, just a couple feet away? Do you get a thrill out of zooming past pedestrians, weaving between them and occasionally slamming into one?

Maybe I would understand all your choices perfectly if I had all the necessary information. Maybe you were rushing to the hospital, where your first child was being delivered at that very moment. Maybe you didn’t notice that bike lane. Maybe you were just having a really awful day.

Or maybe you were just afraid I would be mad at you. Maybe you were too remorseful to even look me in the eye.

Either way, it’s OK. Just try to be aware of your surroundings.

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