Motorcycle Diaries

I’m all about experiencing new things and learning from adventures, just like Che Guevarra in the beautiful film that is the title of this post. Yesterday, I had an adventure that I haven’t yet decided was worth having.

At roughly 2:30 pm, I walked out of my house to get in my car and drive to Maryland for Christmas. In the distance I heard some motorcycles racing around, and I thought to myself, “Be careful. It would really be awful to get hit by one of those.” Our street has a hill at the end that makes a pretty serious blind spot if you’re going too fast. I definitely had a flash of getting hit by a motorcycle.

So, my car was facing the wrong way and as I turned it around to go the other direction, “BOOOOM!!” and my car got a huge jolt. At first I thought I’d hit the curb or a tree, but then I saw someone lying on the ground and a motorcycle on the sidewalk. Here’s a rough sketch:



At first I was in shock, thinking, “Are you serious? Did that really just happen after I thought it might?” I hadn’t even see the guy coming. So I jumped out of the car and ran to see if he was alright. He slowly got up and then started limping down the sidewalk. I called out to him a couple more times asking if he was okay, but he just kept going and next thing I know, he jumped over a fence and never came back, just leaving the totaled bike there.

Crazy story, and I was wondering what to do next. The story only gets crazier from here (I think).  To make a long, complicated story shorter, a neighbor called the police, and just before then, some other guys had come up looking at the bike, concerned. It turns out the bike was stolen, but not by the guy driving it probably.  The police were complete jerks though. They searched all of the guys who came up, but they probably wouldn’t have searched me if I hadn’t offered my ID.  But I was not about to let 4 “Suspicious” looking men get searched while I stood there and didn’t, so I would have insisted on it. So I got searched for the first time in my life.

But for me, the real point of the story is a couple things: One, the police were totally not helpful and were totally trying to “Find the bad guy” to arrest. From the time the first officer arrived, she was nothing but suspicious of the men who had come up to help, trying to assume they were there to steal parts from the broken bike or pin the ownership of the bike on them (regardless of whether or not the latter part of that is true, they had no reason to suspect it because the driver had run off). The police were rather hostile to everyone, including me. I was rather outraged that they were so concerned about finding the bad guy that they did nothing to help the victim of the accident! They didn’t even look at my car to see about who could be found at fault if insurance companies did get involved, etc. Totally there to arrest someone, not help. I never saw the face of the driver but the police officer kept trying to get me to tell him what the driver’s ethnicity was. I refused to assume he was black, and I think that ticked the officer off that I didn’t want to make a guess. It was my first interaction with the “real” side of the police in Durham, and specifically our neighborhood. I saw the police assume things and generally be mean to all of us.

Point #2: I found it totally sad that when the young  man who hit me ran off. I understand why he did, but it really saddened me that his first thought after he survived what could have been a severe accident was, “I’ve got to get out of here before I get in trouble.” I told the guys that came up, who I think are his friends, that if they see him to ask him to stop by my house sometime because I wanted to see how he was, and I wasn’t going to call the police or anything.

Point #3: I got to meet some of the “suspicious” guys in our neighborhood. I asked their names and found out one of them just had a baby. I plan to find them again and see how they are doing.

The damage to my car isn’t that bad, but our insurance won’t cover it cause we don’t have collision insurance.

So, am I glad it happened? No. But It was definitely an experience I won’t forget.



  1. Anna · December 31, 2008

    Aaachh, that is crazy. Motorcyclists terrify me. Hope the dude’s okay.

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