Yesterday I was in an accident with a car. I am ok, more or less. My bike is destroyed.
And the accident was my fault.
I was two miles from home on a sunny day with warm temperatures, looking forward to a 50 mile ride out to Haymarket and back. I was on Rte 234, pedaling slowly as a light in front of me was red. I saw two cars on the side street waiting to turn left and I watched them do so.
Then I did something I almost never do. I got into the cross walk and crossed the side street against the red light. The light was getting ready to turn and I had already seen the waiting cars go through the intersection. What I did not see was a third car, zipping up to the intersection in order to get through it while the light was yellow.
Sadly, the driver of the car did not see me either.
We became aware of each other’s presence about three feet from contact. I heard the brakes screech and had a moment to brace for the impact. The car’s license plate hit my right pedal, at which point my bike and I parted company.
The evidence indicates my bike briefly made an attempt to remain in contact with the street. In so doing, the front wheel was bent and the top tube cracked as pressure forced it into a slight “v.” At this point, the bike traveled about 15 feet, where it came to rest in the intersection. It appears the right brake hood bore most of the impact, as it is badly bent inward.
As for myself, I recall sliding across the hood of the car on my right side. The next five seconds are a little hazy for me, but the location of various abrasions and contusions indicates I landed about ten feet from the car, mostly on my hands and head. My helmet cracked by the right temple and I received some nasty gashes around there and my ear. The helmet twisted violently and the pressure of the strap caused another large abrasion under my chin. Somewhere in all of this, I received a nasty blow to my left knee. That may have been the first body part to hit the street.
I gathered myself and attempted to stand. I was very pleased I was able to do so. My head and knees both hurt, but I was encouraged that I was conscious and ambulatory. The driver of the car – a teenage girl – was now outside the vehicle asking me if I was ok, and if I needed an ambulance. She was very distraught.
I tried to convince her that I didn’t need an ambulance, but by now several bystanders were present. When each one saw my face, they became very concerned for me. This was quite troublesome for me as I could only imagine what was wrong. I then noticed blood dripping from my right glove. Fearing for the worse, I took it off and discovered only a deep cut – no compound fracture.
An ambulance arrived very quickly and the EMTs brought me into it, where they checked me for concussion symptoms and dressed the cut on my right ring finger. They looked me over and recommended I go to the hospital. I refused, saying I was ok. They made me sign a form on an electronic tablet, indicating I was refusing treatment. They chastised me for not having any ID and were surprised to see my Road ID. Amazingly, they had never heard of this and were intrigued by it. They took pictures of it which they intend to use in their training. I had always placed a great deal of faith in my RoadID and was very disappointed to see two actual EMTs would never have thought to look for it. Good thing I was still conscious.
When I left the ambulance, the girl’s parents and a police officer had arrived. I asked the father if there was any damage to the vehicle. He said the vehicle was fine and that he was more worried about me. I told him I would live, but my bike would not. The only damage to the car was a bent license plate and the plastic frame that held it to the vehicle was broken.
My wife soon arrived with my daughter and they helped me put my bike into the back of the vehicle and took me home. They were both concerned I didn’t go to the hospital. While I showered, my wife called a triage nurse who advised taking me to the ER. I relented and got to experience the brand new ER at Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital. It was quite a nice facility and everyone was very professional and helpful. The resident doctor confirmed that I did not have a concussion and a nurse further cleaned and dressed my wounds.
It was at this point that the nurse remarked that I should shave my legs. Gerry, I believe that in all the emergency rooms in all the hospitals in the entire world, I was the only person who thought of you yesterday afternoon.
(For those not aware of the back story, Gerry is a very nice Canadian who lives in France and takes pride in shaving his legs, which I tease him about occasionally – the shaving part, that is. I generally don’t tease him about living in France. Some things just aren’t appropriate for teasing.)
I woke up today in decent shape. I am now sporting a black eye and the wounds on my face have scabbed over, making it look worse than it did yesterday. Four of my fingers and both thumbs work without difficulty. I’ve got scratches down my right thigh, an abrasion on my right knee, and a slight pain in my right ankle. My left knee has a larger abrasion and is swollen. Sigh.
And that’s my accident story. I knew I would have one eventually. I wish it didn’t involve my own stupidity, but I am glad that I made it through the crash with as little damage as one could hope for. I’ll rest up and think about what I’m going to do for an encore. Hopefully, it will involve keeping both wheels on the asphalt.