Before I write about tonight’s topic, online predators, I have a bicycling anecdote.
I think I hit a rabbit while I was bicycling today. You'd think I would know, but I’m not sure. I have run over a squirrel, a dog’s leg and a couple of snakes over the years, but never a rabbit, fortunately. On one of my bike trips several years ago I saw a woman who had hit a rabbit. It threw her off the bike and left her with bruises and scrapes. I'm glad I didn't see the incident, as I'm sure it wasn't pretty.
When I ran over the squirrel, I think I hit him with both wheels, but I seemed to run over the middle of him, and it didn’t cause me to wipe out. The squirrel didn’t look well after the fact, but he got up and scampered off into nearby bushes.
The dog I hit was a tiny little pointless dog, and I only ran over his leg, fortunately, so I didn’t wipe out and the dog limped off. I called the county sheriff’s office later that day because dogs at this house were a regular nuisance and I didn’t think I was obligated to put up with them on a regular basis, given I was bicycling on the paved shoulder of a highway. I never had a problem with those dogs again.
The snakes weren’t pleased to have been run over, and I didn’t realize I was going to run over them until it was too late.
I have seen a lot of rabbits along the bike trails this spring, more than usual, I think. Some of the bike trails I use run along active railroad tracks, and as I was riding along one of those tracks as a train was coming from the opposite direction. I am probably 30 feet from the train, and as we met I lowered my chin and turned my head to the right a bit, as the train was on my left. When I did this, I saw something come across the bike trail from my left. I saw it out of the corner of my left eye so I'm not sure what it was. It could have been a weed, but I felt the impact of it on my front wheel, so I doubt it was a weed. I didn’t lose my balance, and by the time I looked back, I saw no sign of anything.
My theory is that the train startled a rabbit in the weeds, it ran away from the tracks and ran into the side of my front wheel as I was looking to my right. So if I’m right, I didn’t really hit it, it hit me. Since it ran into the side of my wheel, rather than in front of it, I’m lucky. I wish I could confirm it was a rabbit, then i could add it to my list of war stories from the road.