Getting hit by a truck was bad, the “lousy little two-bit ticket” made things worse, but most egregious of all is that people might think she’s a crazy old lady.
Sheila Jaroszewicz was cycling in Amherstburg Tuesday when a pickup truck hit her. She and the driver were both charged.
Jaroszewicz plans to fight her ticket, but is most concerned people will assume she lost her marbles and didn’t know what she was doing when she rode in front of the truck.
“Like I’m a little old biddy that threw herself in front of that,” said the feisty 68-year-old. “Things go on that Facebook, then people say ‘I hope that little old lady’s not dead.'”
“I’m very annoyed about being classed a senile biddy, I’m not a crumpled up little old biddy.”
Amherstburg police said they were called at 11: 37 a.m. Tuesday to Sandwich Street North and St. Arnaud Street.
Investigators said a woman on a bicycle left the sidewalk and tried to ride through the cross walk at the intersection. That’s when a 61-year-old man behind the wheel of a pickup truck hit her, police said.
Jaroszewicz was treated at hospital for non-life threatening injuries to her neck and both legs. She was still walking with a limp on Thursday.
The pickup driver is charged with making an unsafe turn. Jaroszewicz is charged under the Highway Traffic Act with riding in or along a cross walk.
Amherstburg police Const. Shawn McCurdy said that while Jaroszewicz was allegedly breaking the law, officers do have discretion in laying some charges. In this case, he said, the officer chose to charge Jaroszewicz.
“They investigate and if there are charges to be laid, the officer will lay the appropriate charge,” said McCurdy. “The Highway Traffic Act states how are bicycles are vehicles and they have to follow the rules of the road.”
In an ironic twist, Jaroszewicz said she was riding on the sidewalk because it’s too dangerous to ride on the road. “I’ve got to be right on the road with all of this crazy traffic? I don’t think so,” she said. “I know it’s against the law. But the cop said we never enforce that.”
Jaroszewicz said she was on the sidewalk and waited to make sure the pickup driver, who was at a stop sign, saw her. “This guy, I see him, it looked like he was seeing me,” said Jaroszewicz. “Then when I proceeded across, he set off and he run me down.”
She was pinned underneath.
“That’s a big vehicle to be under,” she said. “I was very lucky I didn’t get crushed.”
Jaroszewicz, who moved her from England 42 years ago, said she’s been riding bicycles for five decades.
“I am very cautious,” she said. “I wear a helmet. I’m very careful. I’ve never had a ticket in 50 years, now I’ve got one on a bicycle. That’s a bummer, isn’t it?”
Aside from cycling, Jaroszewicz said she’s a “mountain climber” who scales Mount Baker in Washington each year. She also works out three days a week, including weightlifting.
“Everybody admires my legs,” said Jaroszewicz. “I say ‘you could have my legs if you cycled.'”
She’s also the head gardener at her church and helps out at a local mission. She was headed there, with a backpack full of supplies, when she was hit.
“I just want to set people straight about these little biddies from Amherstburg,” said Jaroszewicz, who works as a hairdresser as well.
She also plans to straighten out the prosecutor about that $110 ticket.
“I will go to that prosecutor and I will tell him my story as an old woman, a feeble old woman,” said Jarosze-wicz. “Lousy little two-bit ticket.”