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My girlfriend crashed - hard and we don't know why.(14 posts)

My girlfriend crashed - hard and we don't know why.Pack Meat
Sep 27, 2002 8:01 AM
My girlfriend went for a ride last week, she remembers the first 10 seconds of the ride and then woke up in an ambulance. This happened in Boulder on some small road, Maysomething, North side of town, just north of Univerisity Bicycles and west of Broadway. She parked at a little trail head and started heading east on the road. She is better now a week+ later but still has no idea what happened. She has a concussion, a big lump on the back of her head and some minor abrassions on her shoulder and butt and a huge bruise on the inside of her knee, probably from hitting the top tube. No marks on her hands or arms. The back of her helmet had two flat straight marks on it, was cracked a little and had a piece of gravel imbedded in it. The bike was almost perfect, only some small scratched on the front top of the brake levers and some grass embedded in the tops of the levers. According to the police report there were no witnesses. Luckily for her she was wearing her helmet and had her driver's license and insurance card with her.

The area were she probably crashed has no shoulder and is pretty narrow. Cars there are coming down a hill around a corner. I think she got wacked by a sideview mirror. It's a mystery and that's got her freaked out. She's afraid that she just passed out so she is afraid of riding. Anybody know if the helmet companies are good at looking at a helmet and determining how many impacts there were? As strange as it sounds I think it would make her feel better if she knew she had been hit by a car.
Sep 27, 2002 8:15 AM
my immediate thought was that she passed out. but who knows.

Id guess (big guess) the helmets mfg cant tell you WHAT hit the helmet, but can tell if it was caused by head/ground contact.

anyhow; hope she recovers soon.
Precedent..Eager Beagle
Sep 27, 2002 8:20 AM
A friend of a pal of mine was seriously injured by being hit on the back of the head (no helmet) by a truck side mirror at a stop light - it happens.
Sep 27, 2002 8:22 AM
Tell her for me that I'm sorry that happened. It does sound like a mirror hit. I know the area you are talking about and it's narrow and has lots of traffic. I can't believe there were no witnesses.

I got doored once and hit&run once. Neither driver was at all willing to take responsibility and both were at fault. Fortunately I had witnesses. It didn't make me feel any better about riding in traffic, though. I eventually got over it, but it took time.

Concussion / amnesia is a weird thing, and everyone's experience is different. Her memory may or may not return. I had a similar thing happen once on a cross-country (horseback) ride, and it is scary as hell. I still have no memory of the actual fall. I only recall riding into the woods, and then several hours later walking out of a cornfield back to the house, sans horse, covered in mud, with a cracked hardhat and twisted ankle. Luckily I always wore a flak jacket and hardhat when I rode any of the jump courses and/or trails. By the time I arrived home, the local rescue squad and half the neighborhood were out looking for me, as naturally the horse had come home without me. He had bee stings all over his belly so it seems we'd hit a ground hornet nest and he went ballistic.

Ever since then I've always been hesitant about going off into the woods by myself, whether it was on horseback or by bike. But accidents do happen, and I figure the sign on the back of my desk sums it up:

i "I refuse to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death..."
I am going to try to say that once a day...thanks lfr...n.m.koala
Sep 27, 2002 1:35 PM
My new mantra. Thanks (nm)JS
Sep 27, 2002 3:02 PM
re: My girlfriend crashed - hard and we don't know why.No_sprint
Sep 27, 2002 8:25 AM
Ditto what Lone said above. Many times, when a person has a concussion and loses consciousness, memory of the trauma goes out the window. One of my teammates was riding MTB one day, same gig, no memory to this day what happened.
re: My girlfriend crashed - hard and we don't know why.LC
Sep 27, 2002 8:25 AM
If you don't pay attention sometimes you hit something that you don't even see and go down fast. I have gone over and had my bike hit my head, then my head hit the ground so there were two impacts to the helmet in one crash. I don't think you will ever really know what really happened from looking at the helmet. If she did pass out and crash then it was a good thing she was not driving a car. Tell her the bike may be the safest way to travel.
A friend had a similar crash recentlyPdxMark
Sep 27, 2002 8:27 AM
It was during CycleOregon. She was riding with another friend, who was in front. The woman who crashed has no memory of how it happened. The crash was out of the blue, but we know that no car was involved because the other friend was there. The road had almost no shoulder and the injuries included damage to tissue behind one eye -- meaning that she hit her head.

One theory is that she went down because she drifted off the pavement. The road was chipseal and it was almost impossible to distinguish pavement from loose gravel. From her injuries it was as if the bike slipped out from underneath her. I saw yet another crash in the same conditions just a few days earlier. That woman landed on her knee. THAT was messy...

Sorry to hear about your gf's crash. It's just an idea, but it seems very possible that her lack of memory relates to the injury much more than the cause of the crash. Ride with her alot for awhile to help her get her confidence back.
Good suggestionPack Meat
Sep 27, 2002 8:43 AM
I'll take her a short ride tomorrow. We figure she was already out when she hit otherwise she would have tried to break her fall and she would be marked up on her hands and arms. And the complete lack of marks on the sides of the bike seem to indicate that she went over the bars. I need one of those guys that investigates airplane crashes and can tell you what happened based on how a piece of metal bent.
I had one tooterry b
Sep 27, 2002 9:40 AM
although I did not lose consciousness. narrow road, riding along at the edge (had a slow car behind me that would not pass) kept moving over to encourage them to go around. everthing peachy and suddenly I'm sitting in the middle of the road in front of the car. Luckily she stopped. Went back and walked the area and discovered there was a section of the road where the pavement had cracked and collapsed leaving a 10 inch gap in an otherwise smooth edge. Just enough to launch me into the air over the bars and down onto my shoulder (broke 3 ribs.) Could have just as easily been onto my head.
re: My girlfriend crashed - hard and we don't know why.Inhighgear
Sep 27, 2002 9:37 AM
Sounds like she got hit by a Post-Hole Digger!!!!
Same thing happened to my wifeRickC5
Sep 27, 2002 1:40 PM
Last summer, my wife crashed bad in Waterton Canyon (near Chatfield res) on her mtn bike. Broken collar bone, two broken ribs, lots of rash and bruises, and a smashed helmet.

She also can't remember the actual accident. She was pulling over so a large group could climb up past her (they weren't leaving her any room), and that's the last thing she remembers, even after a year. I found a skid mark that indicated she dropped her front wheel off the edge of the road into a rock-filled ditch. In trying to get back on the road, she must have turned her front wheel too much, and then SLAM! she went down on her right side.

You should have seen the gigantic dust cloud when the Fire Dept and Ambulance screamed up the canyon to rescue her.
Not remembering a trauma like that is very common ...Humma Hah
Sep 27, 2002 2:46 PM
The brain has to go thru several stages to make a permanant memory. If you get knocked unconscious and interrupt that process, there will be no memory of it.

I had a friend who had this happen to him on a motorcycle. He remembered approaching the 7-11 where a kid pulled out and hit him, but not the impact itself, or the last few seconds leading up to it.

The lapse in memory can be a few seconds to some minutes, depending on how "memorable" the few minutes were. If they were pretty ordinary, or the rider was distracted by other thoughts, the lapse could span minutes and not be unusual.

I assume she's seen doctors and has no history of mysterious blackouts. If that's so, tell her to ride -- worry about the cars, but not about something wrong with her noggin.