Off My Bike!

Ouch! After I blogged about how well I was doing on my bike the other day, I had an accident last night and won’t be cycling for a few days!

I was about three quarters of way home, making good time after the weekend break. I’d reached a downhill stretch and was going about 25 miles per hour when a car pulled out on me.

The uphill traffic was at a standstill and he had been waiting to turn right into into it. He had nowhere to go, but decided to pull out anyway. Either he hadn’t see me or had misjudged my speed — I think the former because had he seen me he would not have mistaken just how fast I was approaching. He pulled out across my lane and then stopped! If he hadn’t stopped I would probably have made it round the back of him. But because he had nowhere to go he had to stop.

I managed to yell a choice word or two (!) before I had to concentrate on trying to stop before I hit him and stay upright. I managed to get into a sideways slide which slowed me pretty fast, but then I must have hit a pothole or ridge. The next thing I knew I was sailing through the air with my legs somewhere above my head. Not where they should be at all!

This was a first for me; I’ve fallen off my bike several times before but I’ve never flipped over the top. Thankfully I had the wherewithal — and the time — to choose to stretch out and roll sideways when I hit the ground. I’m really glad I didn’t hit my head at all. That’s the most scary thing about cycling: even though I wear a helmet, I don’t expect it to help in the worst of circumstances.
Several people stopped and offered help which was great. The guy who pulled out on me was nowhere to be seen. He’d driven off (presumably up the wrong side of the road) and no one had been able to get his registration number. I must thank the lady who gave me a pack of tissues, and the nearby security guard who let me use his first aid kit to clean myself up, and the three other people who stopped to check I was OK.

I had a deep graze on my left knee, a painful bruise on my left hip and a twinge in my right wrist. Still, the bike was OK and I managed to cycle the rest of the way home.

By the time I got home though my wrist was quite painful. I decided I needed it checked. Jan drove me up to the local A&E department but had to leave me there: Jamie needed picking up from Brownies. It wasn’t too busy; I think I only waited about 10 minutes for my first consultation then about 15 minutes to see a doctor. I had three X-Rays during which the radiologist managed to find the most painful position for my wrist! I really whimpered like a baby! Luckily nothing was broken, though it did feel like it. They patched me up, fitted a tubular bandage to support my wrist, and sent me on my way. Steve picked me up and took me back home.

When I woke this morning my knee and hip were both stiff and my right hand was pretty much unusable. I decided to take a day or two off work. Right now, I’m glad I’m left handed — I can at least manage some things though I’m reduced to pecking at the keyboard with one hand ever-so-slow-ly.

I was lucky really, it could have been a lot worse. I don’t expect to be off my bike too long.

Update: 21/04/2005 I uploaded a quick photo of my wounded knee 🙂

20 thoughts on “Off My Bike!

  1. I have been a fairly serious cyclist for over 20 years (some years more serious then others, but still I love it). In 20 years of this stuff in the end it always comes down to two things – 1) the car always wins, and 2) they never stick around. I was hit broadside (luckily I saw her coming) and I got loose, jumped the hood, hit the ground and she ran over my back THREE TIMES and left me on the side of the road. She went over it three times because she ran over it, stop ask if I was ok, I said I was not sure so she jumped back in rolled back over it and then went over it again leaving. That truly was a low day.

    Stick with it though, it is a great sport and though there are risks and jerks out there the rewards of health and calmness far outway them. Good luck, quick healing, and don’t the dog’s bite you where the door hit you.


  2. You should have just slammed into the car. Left a few good scratches and dents. I don’t know about the UK, but in the US, bikes are considered to be like any other road vehicle. That car would have been at fault in the accident for failing to yield the right-of-way to you.

  3. Thanks Dougal,
    Unfortunately I think I would have come off far worse if I’d actually hit him! A bicycle isn’t any protection in a collision.

  4. Glad to hear you’re (mostly) alright. You did the right thing by cycling the rest of the way home, you may be feeling stiff now but thats nothing compared with how you would have been feeling if you’d been picked up.

    I’ve had accidents in the past with cars and several times the drivers have threated my with legal action for damaging their car… even though it was blatantly their fault!!!

    Hope you’re back on your bike soon.

  5. Glad you are okay! Did you see your life flash before your eyes? Was there a tunnel with a light at the end? Or was there just a lot of ‘oh sh-t’ going on? Amazing how fast the mind works when the body is in danger.

    When I was in college, oh so many years ago, I didn’t have a car but I had my first 10 speed. It was also the first that had hand brakes. Everyone had advice on how to shift, but no one told me that hand brakes are practically useless in the rain. I wiped out going downhill in a storm. I was a mess and the bike was worse. I still have the scars, and the bike. It was several months before I could ride again. I went up and down that hill several times to get over my fears about it. Heh, maybe you can have a friend pull out in front of you a few times to get you over any of your fears.

    Using that bike taught me a lot about human nature. I had cars come off the road to swerve toward me, bottles tossed at me, and tires spun to toss gravel at me. But I also had the lady who stopped when I had a flat, the boy that often ran alongside me as we ‘raced’, and many other kind folk who paused or moved, granting me right of way. I can’t ride a bike anymore but I keep that old rusted thing for giggles I guess.

    Again, glad you are okay enough to heal. -PaulaO

  6. hi mike how u bin miss in u make in me laf wen im sad n ave you got
    msn if so wats your addy n hope you reply son oj

  7. Glad to hear you’re OK 🙂 I used to ride my bike downtown to work every day, and in the course of a single year I was hit by a bus, two cars, three doors, and a bike messenger. Drivers just don’t see cyclists when they’re being impatient 🙁

    Well, technically, I did the hitting when it came to the doors – but in every single accident I either had no time to stop/avoid or no warning at all. Fortunately, my worst injury was a cracked rib (bus) and some miscellaneous road-rash. Most of the time I could just get up and keep riding.

  8. Paula, thanks for your kind words. I didn’t get any flashbacks not even with music and slo-mo! I was quite suprised that I didn’t even consider getting scared. I was all business-like trying to control the bike and looking for the safest option.
    Talking about brakes, I recently had a bike with disc brakes. I was really impressed with them. I’ll have to see about getting some for this bike.

    Russ, Thanks. I’ve been cycling for just over 6 years now and this is my worst accident. Previous ones have been really minor.

  9. I bike in an urban area, and I’ve found that if you drive agressively and avoid fast-moving traffic areas you’ll be fine. Given a choice between being hit by a car and running off onto the sidewalk and crashing (or even in a spot on the road where there’s no traffic), I’d choose the option that doesn’t involve running into a car.

    Fortunately, I’ve been lucky, and most of the crashes I’ve had haven’t been caused directly by cars: instead they’ve been because needed parts happened to break at inopportune times. The remedy for that is to not buy cheap parts…

  10. Owww! God, it hurt to just *read* that.
    The thing is, motorists pull out into the street, and *then* look. By the time they even look, they’re already in the part of the street that a cyclist would occupy.

    Here in Boston I ride fairly far out to the left to avoid the opening doors of parked cars, and people pulling out of side streets. At least the cars behind me, although they may not like me, can see me! But still, plenty of people will pull out right in front of a cyclist, either because they didn’t see them or misjudge their speed.

  11. ouch!!! glad you are okay though. car drivers are so inconsiderate, aren’t they? practically all my accidents have been hit and runs.

    tell me, did you check your bike for injuries before yourself? i always do! i check my bike is okay and then notice that i am broken or dislocated somehere. lol. somone doesn’t have her priorities right!

    mike, the most ‘mistaken for’ man in the world. 😉

  12. I cycle everywhere in my town. (UK town.) As I don’t drive yet, I have learn’t very quickly how to ride in my town so that no one takes a swipe at you, and that everyone sees you. basically there is no law saying you have to ride in the gutter, as everyone seems to do, so I take heed of this (lack of) law, and ride in the middle of my lane.

    By doing this it makes sure that car drivers see you, and THINK about how to overtake you, and whether it endangers them. You would be amazed at the amount of people that think you have to ride over the drain covers, and that being dangerously overtaken by a car/bus is part of riding a bike on the road.

    Glad you are ok, and I thankfully have never been hit, although I have been in a few dicey situations where I have had to take evasive action. My plan if I ever get hit is to just lie there and groan. Then the car driver might actually stop and realise they have seriously broken the law, plus it gives people a chance to get the registration plate number.

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  14. Tank(supa hero beauty queen!) thanks for the thoughts, I did have to get my bike out of the road before I got round to assessing my own damage! I did check it was OK too.

    Caius, I do tend to hug the pavement a bit, but I make sure I take advantage of the green cyclist areas at traffic lights and so on.

    WS, I don’t ride particularly aggressively bit I do ride fast. I’m not timid about taking my place in traffic when I need to. I do tend to ride either when the traffic is so busy to be crawling along or even standing or else later when the traffic is light. So I normally have it quite safe.

    Lisa, I agree. Most drivers are quite poor at spotting each other let alone cyclists! And when they do see me they nearly always misjudge my speed. I don’t know what it is that makes them blind to just how fast I am travelling. Pedestrians are the same, they see ‘bike’ and think ‘slow’.

  15. aw mike , poor you , hope your ok soon , was thinking my bike should come out , but, i think it can stay in the shed , i wouldnt do a roll ect , i’d end up in a horrid mess , take care xxx

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