How being hit by a car changes your life

Our stories share certain similarities: We looked up at faces looking down, asking if we were O.K. None of the drivers who hit us were charged by the police with any misdoing — significant because part of Mr. de Blasio’s plan is stricter enforcement of traffic laws. Passers-by, belying the reputation of our area, rushed to help. And we were all deeply moved by the support of our friends and co-workers.

Still, though we have all mostly recovered, we travel around our city with a sense of permanent vulnerability. Nearly four years after she was hit, Denise Fuhs, a news design editor, put it this way in an email account of her accident: “I still cannot cross very many streets without looking both ways about four times and looking over my shoulder a dozen times while crossing. If a car gets too close, or if I think a driver turning my way doesn’t see me, I panic, sometimes freeze.”

Among the cards and well-wishing messages from colleagues that lifted my spirits while I was recuperating was one that I will never forget. It was from Neil MacFarquhar, now a foreign correspondent, whom I had then never met. He had been hit 10 years earlier by a runaway bus on Fifth Avenue when he was on his bike. A bystander had described his body bouncing off the bus “like a dummy.” He had been unconscious for 10 days and still had lingering physical effects from his injuries. “I don’t mean to alarm you,” Neil wrote in an email, “but your life will probably not ever be quite the same.”