Bike Vs. Truck Crash

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by percious, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. percious

    percious New Member

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    Ok. So here is the deal. I am posting this message as a story about my recent crash. I wanted to post this as a warning to all of you out there who ride the road, and do it dangerously. Please don't join me in the ranks of idiocy.

    I have a usual training loop that I do 3-5 times a week, as to prepare myself for cross-country racing. I take to the road with my mountain bike, because this is the best way I have found to increase my endurance, with the least amount of wear to both my body and bike. My loop is 17 miles and it takes me about an hour to complete usually.

    After coming home to an empty house I decided to take advantage of some free time and take my titanium wonder for a spin. Things were spinning well, I started off little off my regular pace, but I knew I could make up the time in the second off. After climbing two mammoth hills, I started down the biggest descent of the ride. Its a 2 mile hill, probably a 6-8% grade. Sometimes I am lucky enough to draft off a car, and reach speeds of 44 mph (with knobby tires).

    At the bottom of the hill is an intersection. Ordinarilly, I fly through the intersection, disregarding the stop light that floats above. The intersection has four sides to it. Two of the sides are an off-ramp/on-ramp to a major highway. This means that when the light is red in the direction I am travelling, there will be no cars crossing the intersection, due to the fact that people don't ordinarily get off the highway, then right back on.

    I forgot one important detail however. Before the light goes from red to green in my direction, there is an arrow, which allows the apposing traffic to enter the highway, since it is a left hand turn for them.

    So, I arrived at the intersection, at 35mph, at the exact moment the apposing traffic got the green arrow. A large pickup truck pulls out. He cannot see me, because I am passing cars on the right.

    I hit the brakes. I skid. He sees me. He stops.

    The rest is sort of a blur. I did in fact hit the truck, causing a concussion. Thank God I had a helmate on. I got to ride in a sparkley light van with reversed letters on the front.

    So now I am on the road to recovery. The gentlemen who's truck I hit came and showed me the damage to his truck, and asked me how I wanted to handle it. I couldnt even remember what color his truck was. I did $2100 (US) damage, with my body. My bike sustained $300 in damage.

    My body is another story. In the process, I somehow majorly twisted my knee. I have been walking with a limp for weeks. I yearn to ride. I will have to settle for riding a stationary in the gym for a while.

    I'm not writing this to look for sympathy. I don't deserve any. This is a warning to all of you who think they don't have to obey the rules of the road, as I once did. Saving a few seconds on a training ride is not worth your life.

    -percious
     
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  2. Hassaan

    Hassaan New Member

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    There is alot of debate on the effectiveness of a modern-designed cycling helmet. And very few stories have been reported of a helmet saving a life. It worked smartly here. It proves its worth especially in urban areas.
     
  3. stevenaleach

    stevenaleach New Member

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    Yea, that is the problem with helmets.... no one can point to anecdotal evidence. seatbelts are easy to see work. Someone dies after putting their head through the windshield and you say "A seatbelt would have saved him". Someone wearing their seatbelt in a headon accident walks away from a totaled car and it is easy to see how much better off they were because they didn't hit the dash or windshied with their skull.

    Helmets on the other hand are a little more of a problem. Your head bounces off the pavement, light pole, car bumper, or some other unyielding object, and it's hard to say how much damage could have happened with or without a helmet. The helmet doesn't get the credit that it deserves because it is too tempting to think "ohh, that would have just been a bruise.. maybe a lump for a few days". Possibly, or it could have been fatal. Or even worse could have caused serious brain damage and NOT been fatal.

    I don't think that cycling dangerous, (at least no more dangerous than any other daily activity like walking, driving, or taking a shower), and such an accident is highly unlikely to ever occur - especially if you ride on the road and obey traffic laws. I still would rather have the extra insurance.
     
  4. percious

    percious New Member

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    I really think the helmet saved my noggin. I had a pretty severe concussion. I had a headache for 3 days afterwords, and I was unconcious for at least 15 minutes after hitting the truck. I think if my head hit the pavement, they would have been picking me up with a shovel.

    -percious
     
  5. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    Interesting, how being on a bike reduces our expectations for injury. Most of us wouldn't even consider running a red light in a car or even a motorcycle, but somehow when you're on a bike, you're a bit more willing to take liberties.

    It's easy to think that this is just a bicycle, like what I used to ride when I was a kid. But, it isn't like what I used to ride when I was a kid. Even a casual weekend rider like myself can average around 20mph, and hit close to 50 on a downhill. Impact on an unprotected cranium at either of those speeds can be fatal. Helmet? You bet - I feel naked without one.
     
  6. mfallon

    mfallon New Member

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    Sorry to hear the bad news. I hope your on your way to recovery and will be able to ride again soon. It's unfortunate that most of us, myself included, have to learn many of lifes lessons the hard way. I think I probably speak for a lot of others on this forum by thanking you for coming forth and admitting to doing something not too terribly bright in the hopes that others might learn from your mistake. I personally was pretty lax with the helmet until I read a similar story on another forum and have not been on my bike without one since. You never know when someone might read your post and decide to wear a helmet that he wouldn't of otherwise for whatever reason and end up in an accident and come out ok. As I said it was a post like this that got me wearing a helmet all the time.

    Matt
     
  7. jtfleming

    jtfleming New Member

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    As to helmets, I was fortunate to suffer only a severely multiply fractured jaw in a snowmobile accident this past winter. Had I not been wearing a helmet I would not be here now. My speed when I got thrown? 45. I have done that on a bike on much harder surfaces than snow many times.
     
  8. mfallon

    mfallon New Member

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    I see your dog learned as well:)

    Matt
     
  9. Hassaan

    Hassaan New Member

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    seems very funny :D clever dog
     
  10. Sidi

    Sidi New Member

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    Oh how i hate roadrash.
    Most of the time all i rem is spinning around my own axis as i try to grab the ground with my gloves to get a handle on the speed as i slow to a halt.
    Then that stinging feeling after the adrenaline subsides.
     
  11. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    I see this attitude with cars all the time. I can watch 5 or 6 drivers go through a red light. not yeild and countless other problems. it's hard to even cross the street as car won't let you walk. they will not even yeild to a blind person. I would say far more drivers do wrong things then bicylists do.
     
  12. stevenaleach

    stevenaleach New Member

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    QUOTE:
    I see this attitude with cars all the time. I can watch 5 or 6 drivers go through a red light. not yeild and countless other problems. it's hard to even cross the street as car won't let you walk. they will not even yeild to a blind person. I would say far more drivers do wrong things then bicylists do.
    END QUOTE.


    Given that there are about 500 cars for every bike, it stands to reason that there are far more traffic rules broken by automobiles on a given day than by cyclists. However, most cyclists that I see around here are FAR more dangerous than drivers and have FAR less regard for basic rules.

    They ride on sidewalks rather than the street.

    They charge blindly through intersections.

    They cut diagonally across streets through traffic from sidewalk to sidewalk.

    They ride on the wrong side of the road.

    Whether on the street or the sidewalk, they ignore traffic lights and just go right on across.

    This behaviour is so widespread that it is considered perfectly normal. While I get rude remarks while I am on a bike stopped at a traffic light, the sidewalk monkeys get ignored completely. While I ride on the road and get yelled at by anoyed drivers, the idiots on their bmx/mountain bikes are nearly running down pedestrians. I dare say that if I were to consistantly run lights while driving a car, or drive on the wrong side of the road through town, that I would quickly lose my license. Hmmm.. now theres an idea.. bicycle operator licenses.
     
  13. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    Of course some cyclists do it. Most people have not been trained to ride right. But all drivers Have been trained how to drive and they choose to disobey the laws. Just ask most cyclists if you can trust a driver. Hell I can't trust one when I am on foot. If I had I would be dead. All you have to do is look at the accident statistics and see that drivers are becoming very irresponsible. Drivers are starting to think they are the only ones on the rode and drive like it. rode rage is a great example of it.
     
  14. stevenaleach

    stevenaleach New Member

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    Not just some cyclists, but the majority (at least in this area). I live in town and About 5 to 10 bikes go by my house in the course of an hour. In the course of the entire day, maybe 4 will actually be riding on the street instead of the sidewalk. I have yet to see another cyclist stopped at a traffic light.

    If you ask 'most' cyclists, you will get a warped perspective. if someone rides on sidewalks crossing streets then they have probably come close to being hit by a turning car at least once. I have come close to hitting a few in that situation myself, beginning a right hand turn only to have some kid on a bike go flying across the street from the sidewalk. Of course they will say that drivers are dangerous even though it was their actions which caused the problems.

    You're right, of course, drivers are instructed and tested. Cyclists are not. Therefore when drivers break the rules, they know better. However a driver won't have his license long if he drives on the wrong side of the street or constantly runs lights. At the very least they will get a few tickets until they straighten out their act. Why aren't cyclists held to the same standards? I obey the same traffic laws while riding that I would if I were in a car. Most of these people are probably under the impression that they are riding in a perfectly acceptable manner. Again, I suggest operators licenses for bicycles.

    Think about it! Start ticketing people for riding on the sidewalks. Make them ride in the street where they are supposed to be. With more bikes on the street as part of the traffic, drivers will become more aware and pay more attention. With cyclists educated and tested on traffic laws and safe riding, they can be held accountable and ticketed for violating traffic rules. When ALL cyclists start behaving in a responsible manner, then we will all be given more respect by drivers. (And those who don't ride in a responsible manner just lose their license.. same as with drivers!)
     
  15. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    I agree cyclists should be punished too. No doubts there. But like drivers they can get away with it. I think drivers know that they can get away with it more and more as there are not enough police to control them. And hell anymore who needs a license? There are so many drivers without one or insurance it is pretty scary.
    I have been walking for so many years and I have watched drivers get worse. If there are more cars in the turn lane then can get through before a red atleast one will go through. Drivers hardly yield to a ped crossing the street with the crosswalk light on. It’s bad when they look at you then just turn right in front.
     
  16. percious

    percious New Member

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    By the way guys, I did get a written warning for running the red light. It should have been a ticket, but I think the cop gave me a break because I was knocked out and everything. Turns out that the rules are there for a purpose...

    -percious
     
  17. Hassaan

    Hassaan New Member

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    I dont know about America, but here in our country cyclists are exempted from traffic laws of all sorts. The cop will not stop you if you break the signal in light traffic, obviously no one dares to do so in heavy traffic. But you talk about anywhere, your cycling is perfectly safe as long as you keep your mind active on the road and dont commit any idiocy. The expertise of a cyclist in not only to ride safely himself but to prevent himself from the mistakes of others (car drivers, taxis etc). I dont think cycling is a dangerous activity of any significant degree. Most of the time, even pedestrians are at a greater risk than cyclists.
    Another important thing is that in conjested urban areas, there is no harm to wear a helmet. :)
     
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