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Me vs Car, round one: The Warning(10 posts)

Me vs Car, round one: The WarningAllUpHill
Jul 15, 2003 5:49 PM
All I really want to say is: if you've not been hit by a car (as I had never been when I woke this morning) you will be. You cannot assume you will avoid it. Your only defense against distracted drivers is to keep your crash hat on and hope there will be some witnesses.

Well, today was my day for fun. I was riding home from campus on my steel Lemond. Cruising downhill in a sensible region of the lane, the next thing I see is red Mazda hood, sky, then pavement. A driver from the oncoming lane made a left turn, looking for cars but apparently not bikes. Absolutely no reaction time (probably better than having time to tense up). When I gathered my whereabouts, I didn't look at the bike, I didn't look at myself, just started profusely swearing and flaming at the driver like the enraged and startled madman that I was. Probably went a little overboard, but who can control it with all the shock?

Some helpful bystanders called the cops, who in turn called the ambulance. With seemingly just bruises and scrapes, I would have been content with a ride home in the police car. But when they saw the enourmous spider my unprotected noggin put in her windshield, I was promply put in a neck brace, strapped to "the rack" and hauled to the ER for x-rays. As expected, nothing hurt too seriously. Just a swollen knee, cuts all over, and a headache. I already had so many dead neurons up there for padding, maybe there was not much more damage that could be done.

I got off quite lucky this afternoon, no doubt about that. This was my warning hit. I've always been a devout helmet user on "real" rides, but I commute to campus occasionally and leave the helmet home about 1/3 of the time for that care-free moron feeling. Talk about some flawed logic on my part. You're a lot safer out of town on Redneck Highway than you are on campus with the swirling mayhem of cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists.

Driver was cooperative--didn't have much choice with a hoard of bystanders. Charged with failure to yield. No bike damage that I can't straighten with a wrench, amazingly.

This was my first car incident in my 3 years of frequent road riding, but very likely not my last. I'm not turned off of cycling yet, just a little wiser (and nervously brake-happy for a few days). Ride safe, folks.
I'm glad you're OK.Atombomber
Jul 15, 2003 7:10 PM
I had a similar experience last summer. A car ran a stop sign at the same time I was in the intersection. At the time, I was only sore from the impact (with the car and then the ground), and had some road rash. A few days later, I started feeling real achy in my shoulder and elbow, and my lower back. I had a very nice insurance claim adjuster of the car (in BC we have one mandatory government run motorvehicle insurance company for 3rd party and basic coverage. There are other carriers for comprehensive (theft, collision, fire, etc. coverage). I went to the doctor who prescribed physiotherapy. Took my Trek 5200 to the local dealer who looked after the replacement of damaged parts. There was no visible damage to the frame, fork or headset, but ICBC (insurance company) replaced the frame and fork so as not to be liable for damages if the frame failed in the future. After 9 months of PT, I still have problems with my shoulder, so I am now going for an MRI next week to find out what is wrong in the joint.

Make certain that you file a claim against the motorist, since you should not be responsible for the repairs to yourself and your bike. I haven't considered any financial compensation, other than loss of work and out of pocket expenses for PT.

Hope everything works out.
Glad you made it out OK... sometimes you can't see it comin'. nmrwbadley
Jul 15, 2003 7:12 PM
Always wear helmetc722061
Jul 15, 2003 7:13 PM
even it just a short ride. You are so lucky that you did not badly hurt. Wish the best for ya!
get lots of $$$(nm)shamelessgearwhore
Jul 16, 2003 8:43 AM
Discouraging newswitcomb
Jul 16, 2003 9:03 AM
Well all this news is getting discouraging. I just got a road bike about 2 weeks ago and all I've read is people being hit by cars. I have been out several times, riding in the middle of nowhere whenever possible and things have been great. Cars give you a whole lane almost all the time and when they don't they still give you atleast half. But man, the second I can see a subdivision, it is time to put the guard up.

Glad to hear you made out ok but it's now time for a new helmet.
All ya have to do...MShaw
Jul 16, 2003 9:24 AM
... is pay attention to your surroundings, ride assertively, and assume that noone sees you, and you'll be fine.

No sense getting all tensed up. If something is going to hit you, chances are you won't see it coming.

Did I mention that you have to pay attention? No walkmen, no daydreaming while riding in traffic, etc. You don't have to be paranoid or permanently scared to ride the road.

Jul 16, 2003 9:46 AM
I don't mean to scare away newer roadies with my incident report. I'm not scared, and I was the one that got mowed down! It's just a story to keep everyone cautious and touched down with reality.
Jul 17, 2003 3:27 AM
No no, not scared at all, I went out last night. Im afriad it will probably take a Mac truck to put my passion to an end at the moment. I do agree, I pay very close attention to all drivers when in traffic, especially those people who can't judge speed while attempting a left hand turn. I do however, attempt to avoid traffic when possible, I would rather think about my ride and nothing else.
Head on a swivel.pitt83
Jul 16, 2003 10:50 AM
That's how it was described to me once. If when you're driving you look once, you look 4X while road biking. Stare down drivers to be sure of their intentions at intersections. Know what's around you by looking and listening. Don't zone out (I did that this weekend and endoed by hitting a curb).

Interesting thing about the pace of road biking is: Not everything happens as quickly as when you're driving. I feel like I have more reaction time and more warning about things. If you keep your head in the game, you really have no worries.

Just be aware and enjoy your ride.