Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-13-05, 08:37 AM   #1
John Wilke
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
John Wilke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Milwaukee
Bikes:
Posts: 3,915
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Ran down from behind

On August 7, 2005 while riding on a quiet country road here in Wisconsin I was run down by an SUV going an estimated 50mph (limit was 35), the driver did not stop and left me for dead. I do not remember anything of the crash, but fortunately it was seen by two witnesses who called 911 and saved my life. My helmet was destroyed and has tire marks on the side. Fortunately for me I was thrown into a farmers field which gave me cuts from head to toe, I didn't hit anything solid. I spent 5 days in the hospital with a broken pelvis and lacerated bladder. During the last day in the hospital it was discovered that I was developing a rash all over my body ... poison ivy ... head to toe ! UGH. That was miserable, but I was alive. A week later, I developed fevers, peaking 103 F in the wee hours one night ... we called 911 and I spent another week in the hospital with fevers of 104.1F for 24 hours ... I developed numerous infections including a staph infection of my blood which could have done me in if not for the excellent medical care I received.

I'm now 37 days out from the crash. I'm still walking with a walker, but it's getting better. I'm still peeing through a tube in my bladder, but have not had to have any surgery to fix my bladder yet. I'm still receiving IV antibiotics at home and will for 2 more weeks.

I'm alive and very grateful.

The big question ... will I ever ride the bike again?

I'm 45 years old and have been riding since I was a kid. I spent 12 years racing in the USCF and am quite confident in my abilities to control myself on a bicycle.

But what about the drivers on the road? Speeding - talking on cell phones - not paying attention - etc.

I remember nothing of the accident. All I know is that it was a flat, straight road on a sunny sunday afternoon that had more cows and corn than cars. I'm 6'5", 200 lbs, and was wearing bright clothing.

I love cycling, I put on 3,000 to 5,000 miles on per year and I love to go to bike races and watch, but this may be it for me.

After getting mowed down from behind and left for dead ... I can't trust any drivers out there anymore.

Could you?

John Wilke
Milwaukee
John Wilke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 08:56 AM   #2
timmhaan
more ape than man
 
timmhaan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: nyc
Bikes:
Posts: 8,093
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
John - that's horrible. glad you are alive though and seemingly getting better.

my accident wasn't nearly as bad as your. i'll spare you all the details, but basically a cab cut me off and we collided. 4 weeks later and armed with a new bike, i'm riding again. and it's not the same. i was pretty scared at first, it felt like everyone was out to slam into me. i didn't view traffic as something to ride with, but as a hostile group of people bent on putting me back in the hospital. i felt small and weak. it's getting a little better, and i think i'll be back to riding daily pretty soon.

you just gotta ease into it. don't go far from home at first, and stay in your comfort level (i only road in the park at first). you shouldn't ditch something you love. don't let that guy take that away from you.
timmhaan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 08:57 AM   #3
joeprim
Senior Member
 
joeprim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Northern Neck Tidewater Va.
Bikes:
Posts: 1,688
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Damn that sucks! I don't know what I'd do if i were you. Did any of the witnesses get any details on the SUV?

Good luck and keep us informed.

Joe
joeprim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 09:03 AM   #4
John Wilke
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
John Wilke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Milwaukee
Bikes:
Posts: 3,915
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
More info:

The police won't give me any information because it's still under investigation. I was told they have my bike and they took lots of pictures, but that's all they can say at this point. I have no bike to look at, no memories of what happened - just a busted helmet and a busted body.

It sucks !

:^[

John Wilke
Milwaukee
John Wilke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 09:11 AM   #5
JohnBrooking
Commuter
 
JohnBrooking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Southern Maine
Bikes: 2006 Giant Cypress EX (7-speed internal hub)
Posts: 2,567
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, John, first of all, we're very glad you made it through, and hope for your quick recovery.

That said, I don't know if any of us who haven't been through something like that can honestly answer your question. We'd all like to urge you to "get back up on the horse", and encourage you by saying that those types of drivers are rare and its unlikely that anything that this will ever happen again even if you do resume riding. But, that doesn't feel like it sufficiently honors your experience, coming from anyone who hasn't been through it. So I don't really know what to say.

I guess your exact question was if I could trust any drivers again after such an incident. I want to say that I would, but who really knows if I'd feel that way after going through what you did?

One last question. I am in no way meaning to place any blame on you, please don't interpret it that way, but: Did you have a mirror? If not, maybe if you had, it might have helped you see this person coming and take evasive action (maybe, who knows for sure), and beginning to use one would make you feel more comfortable if and when you resume riding. (If you did have one, never mind.)
JohnBrooking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 09:15 AM   #6
oboeguy
34x25 FTW!
 
oboeguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: NYC
Bikes: Kona Jake, Scott CR1, Dahon SpeedPro
Posts: 6,013
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Look-up what happened to Joseba Beloki in the 2003 Tour de France. Horrible crash at high speed when arguably at the peak of his career. He's racing again this season. Maybe that can help inspire you to ride again!

Best of luck with your recovery. I hope the police are useful and can nail that ignorant bastard who ran you over to wall and then some. Sounds like he(?) could use some time in PMITA prison.
oboeguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 09:21 AM   #7
Bekologist
totally louche
 
Bekologist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: A land that time forgot
Bikes: the ever shifting stable loaded with comfortable road bikes and city and winter bikes
Posts: 18,025
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
John,

glad you made it through the accident, hope you have a full and speedy recovery.


I too am a lifetime rider, and have had some serious crashes in the past 4 decades. More recently, having been hit from behind five years ago by a cab, and also currently off the bike, rehabbing a broken hip and foot from an bike car collision in mid August of this year, I can relate to your apprehension about riding again.after the cab accident, I was apprehensive about riding, but that went away after a few rides. This time, I just want to get back on the wheel. Hopefully, the apprehension will be minor. Good luck!
Bekologist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 09:22 AM   #8
jamesdenver
jim anchower
 
jamesdenver's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 1,118
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
do they at least have a name? if the police are too slow i'd hire a lawyer and private investigator. i'm sure they - i'm sure they'd proceed on it without any money up front
jamesdenver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 09:52 AM   #9
cedo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 225
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Rodney Moseman, the custom bike builder, was hit from behind in 2002 by a semi tractor-trailer. The injuries were extensive, but fortunately no brain damage, and he was hospitalized for many months. He has recovered and continues to ride.
cedo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 10:02 AM   #10
nycm'er
militant commuter
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: lower manhattan
Bikes:
Posts: 476
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sorry to hear about the collision, sorry that the driver was too small to stick around. I hope you heal quickly and as painless as possible. If I was out your way I would volunteer to ride with you, a small pack may make you feel safer. I hope you soon feel secure in riding again.
nycm'er is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 10:21 AM   #11
Portis
Banned.
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Home alone
Bikes: Trek 4300 X 2. Trek 1000, Trek 6000
Posts: 6,019
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking

One last question. I am in no way meaning to place any blame on you, please don't interpret it that way, but: Did you have a mirror? If not, maybe if you had, it might have helped you see this person coming and take evasive action (maybe, who knows for sure), and beginning to use one would make you feel more comfortable if and when you resume riding. (If you did have one, never mind.)
I used to subscribe to the thoery that i could escape an "attack from behind" by virtue of using a mirror. I love my helmet mirror and don't ride anywhere without it. I have ridden thousands and thousands of miles with it.

On the bike i have often asked myself if the mirror would give me enough notice to avert a rear end job. When a cars comes up i sometimes simulate it in my brain as to what i would do if i couldn't detect that the car was getting over. What i have found is that i don't think the odds are very good that i would :
a.) Notice the car was not giving me enough room. or b.) Have time to do anything about it.

I'm sorry you had such a bad accident but I am glad that you are alive. I worry a lot about getting hit on the road yet haven't given up on cycling. Stories like yours and so many others, are red flags in my mind. I think a person is foolish if they don't pay attention to red flags.

I haven't even come close to deciding to quit riding but the thought is there. I suspect an event like yours would cause me to give it up but i don't know. I do know that life is short and that cycling is not the only potential hazard in life. I also know that it is one of the very few things that i thoroughly enjoy.

Good luck to you my friend.
Portis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 10:24 AM   #12
timmhaan
more ape than man
 
timmhaan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: nyc
Bikes:
Posts: 8,093
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i hope that guy is found. he deserves to rot in a tiny cell somewhere. if you do find him, get the best lawyer you can and go for the jugular. i still can't even imagine how someone could just leave after an accident like that.
timmhaan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 10:25 AM   #13
Portis
Banned.
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Home alone
Bikes: Trek 4300 X 2. Trek 1000, Trek 6000
Posts: 6,019
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
i hope that guy is found. he deserves to rot in a tiny cell somewhere. if you do find him, get the best lawyer you can and go for the jugular. i still can't even imagine how someone could just leave after an accident like that.
What about the possiblity that it wasn't an "accident"?
Portis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 10:38 AM   #14
timmhaan
more ape than man
 
timmhaan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: nyc
Bikes:
Posts: 8,093
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger
What about the possiblity that it wasn't an "accident"?
true - i should have said incident. i truely hope nobody would TRY to kill someone on purpose just riding a bike around, but i guess you never know. some people are sick.
timmhaan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 10:56 AM   #15
Eatadonut
You know you want to.
 
Eatadonut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Bikes: Pinarello Prince, 1980's 531 steel fixie commuter, FrankenMTB
Posts: 1,896
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
My helmet was destroyed and has tire marks on the side.


holy ****. you're one lucky punk. I'm never really worried about things like that happening out here, there are so many cyclists where I ride that people are pretty used to us, but there's always that nagging in the back of my head of "what if"...wow.

I hope you make a full recovery - and get back on that saddle.
__________________
Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.
Eatadonut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 12:18 PM   #16
sbhikes
Dominatrikes
 
sbhikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Still in Santa Barbara
Bikes: Catrike Pocket, Lightning Thunderbold recumbent, Trek 3000 MTB.
Posts: 4,920
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There's a hit and run trial going on right now in Santa Barbara. Lady hit a pedestrian on her way home from a party where witnesses say they served her alcohol. The assumption is she went home and only called the police after the alcohol wore off. Bet her lawyer recommended that. I wouldn't be surprised if something like that happened, minus the calling the police part.

I'm glad you survived. I know how it feels, sort of. I had a motorcycle accident recently, but only minor injuries. I was very scared to get back on. Even now, when I'm pulling out from where it happened, I look down the street and even though I can see it is clear, I don't believe it is clear. I brace for impact still. If you decide to hang it up, I'll understand.

I hope they take your case seriously. For some reason, people can kill cyclists and get away with it.
sbhikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 12:18 PM   #17
Pheard
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: South City, Ca
Bikes:
Posts: 3,348
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Livestrong. Thats my only advice.
Pheard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 12:29 PM   #18
scarry
Bent_Rider
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: SF Bay area
Bikes: Bacchetta Aero, BikeE, Bruce Gordon Rock n Road
Posts: 1,248
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You could look at it this way; Lighting does not strike twice in the same place. It's all about nerve.
Best of luck to you. I hope they find the @#$%er.
scarry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 12:39 PM   #19
barenakedbiker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 364
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow...You are lucky, or unlucky, you are still alive. Rear-enders are very rare. But, almost always deadly.

Here are a few things I noticed:

1. Riding on a quiet country road in Wisconsin.
(Complacency. Most people think riding in traffic is dangerous. So, when there's no cars around, they let their guards down.)

2. Were you using a rear-view mirror?
(The SUV goon might have still nailed you. But, if you had early warning, you might have a chance.)

3. I got nailed from behind once by a driver with suspended license, DUI priors, and one glass eye. The speed of the car was 35 mph. I should have died. Instead, I walked away with nothing more than a bruised hip and managed to give a TV interview. I was towing a big aluminum box on a trailer, which absorbed the impact.

Will you ride again? I dunno. See my strategies on how to deal with wild and crazy drivers: Dr. RedNeckLove or How to fight back without really dying
barenakedbiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 12:52 PM   #20
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;
Posts: 17,046
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
You may find a fundamental difference in attitude between those of us who have been struck by motor vehicles (in my case, once, 29 years ago; concussion, facial lacerations, broken clavicle) and those who have not. Partly because she remembers my experience so vividly, my wife gradually gave up road bicycling entirely. I continue to ride, but I select my routes and weather and traffic conditions very carefully, and I ride less than I would like to.
__________________
"Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 01:01 PM   #21
wildjim
Guest
 
Bikes:
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
I hope that you recover fully and quickly. . .

As for trusting drivers. I don't trust people as general rule, as I've seen the bad side of people too many times.

I especially do not trust people while cycling. I ride with the traffic facing me; which is not a solution at all as I cross traffic from the wrong direction. I mainly stay on the side walk or on bicycle trail where there is no traffic. I've been side swiped and ran off the road a few times already. I've just been much luckier than you.

People Suck make no mistake !
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 01:13 PM   #22
jyossarian
SERENITY NOW!!!
 
jyossarian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In the 212
Bikes: Haro Vector, IRO Rob Roy, Bianchi Veloce
Posts: 8,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Glad to hear you're getting better quickly John. It's a good thing you're a fit and healthy rider. Anyone else might not have survived. As for riding, you can always ride in the park or ride with a group for safety.

I don't know how I'd react to such a life changing situation, but ask yourself if you'd feel happier knowing you were safer not riding your bike.
__________________
HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!
jyossarian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 01:14 PM   #23
Slow Train
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes: 2006 Specialized S-Works Tricross
Posts: 462
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There are just too many stories of cyclists being struck and left for dead. Very scary. You didn't say but were you riding alone? I believe that riding in a group offers much better protection. For one you are more visbile. Two - much less chance of harrasment. Three - I have found cars more cautious around groups of riders than just a single rider. And, finally, if you are struck then is someone right there to summon aid.

Yes - I have heard that even long pacelines of cyclists are occassionally taken out by a distracted driver.
Slow Train is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 01:22 PM   #24
Helmet Head
Banned.
 
Helmet Head's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: San Diego
Bikes:
Posts: 13,075
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
John,

Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry you had to go through it, but glad you lived to tell us about it!

I have been writing for over a year on this forum about a concept I call "dynamic lateral lane positioning". I haven't referred to it by name in a long time, but it is the principle that drives most of my posts. On country roads here is how it is applied:

1) Use a mirror.
2) Ride in the center of the lane except to allow faster traffic to pass.

There are two main hazards to a cyclist on a long straight road with no intersections:

1) Driver from behind does not see you and runs you down, or is not aware of your presence and inadverdently drifts into you.
2) Driver in oncoming lane decides to pass slower vehicle in his lane, and moves into your lane to pass without noticing you're there.

In both cases the best defense is a good offense: ride in the center of the road.

For the first case, you ride in the center of the lane to greatly increase the chance that the driver approaching from behind sees you and is aware of you. There is a big difference between "seeing" you and being aware of you. Consider the situation from the point of view of a driver. Who is he more likely to see and be aware of:

a) A cyclist up ahead off to the side, in a bike lane, or in a shoulder?
b) A cyclist up ahead in the middle of "his" lane?

It is much harder to ignore a cyclist in your lane than a cyclist "off to the side".

Once the driver from behind is close enough to have achieved a high likelihood of his awareness of my presence, I move aside, perhaps into the bike lane or shoulder if there is one there, to facilitate his passing. I submit that by doing so I am no more vulnerable than I would have been had I been riding along the side the whole time. Plus, more importantly, the driver is much more likely to be aware of my presence than he would have been otherwise, and, thus, much less likely to inadverdently drift into me. I don't see the downside.

For the second case, where an oncoming driver wants to pass, again, by being in the center of the lane it is much more likely that he will see me and decide to abort his pass. Now, it's possible that he still won't see me, and I'll have to go to plan B (move aside!), but I'm much less vulnerable to this possibility. Again, I don't see a downside.

Use the full lane to be visible and predictable, except to let faster traffic pass, when safe and reasonable to do so.
Helmet Head is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-05, 01:57 PM   #25
bikiola
royal dutch of dukes
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: brooklyn, nyc
Bikes:
Posts: 318
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
AND we must be politically active, asserting our rights to congregate as bikers, to be seen as viable, valid occupiers of the same roads cars drive on. to do less would be to not care about every other cyclist in this country.
bikiola is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:30 AM.