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Old 10-30-02, 08:47 PM   #1
Pete Clark
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Falling down

Minor mishap monday. I slipped on some wet railroad tracks. I thought I knew better.

Had minor abrasions, no problem. Washed them with soap and water at work without much pain. But today, two days later, my shoulder feels like it was wrenched so badly I have trouble moving the mouse. But that will pass.

What I've been more concerned about lately is what would have happened if I had been surrounded by a wave of traffic. I could have ended up like that lady in Boston that was crushed under a bus when she got "doored."

It's not just falling. It's falling near traffic that concerns me, especially in the rain.

Being on two wheels makes one prone to falling, unlike our four-wheeled counterparts. If we simply fall, ok...just some scrapes and bruises. If we fall into traffic--bad picture.

Solutions? I will be more careful in the rain, I will avoid debris and sand, I will be more cautious, I will be familiar with my route, I will ride on the smoothest part of the street, I will think of my own safety first instead of how I might inconvenience drivers.

I am not normally one to harp on the dangers of cycling. But an ounce of prevention is worth far more than a pound of cure.



(By the way, I cracked my helmet. Better it than my skull!)

Last edited by Pete Clark; 10-30-02 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 10-30-02, 08:58 PM   #2
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Your'e lucky, a friend of mine went down on some RR tracks a few years ago during an MS150- broke his hip.
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Old 10-30-02, 09:51 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your crash Pete.

About the shoulder though - you should get it checked out by a Dr. if you don't see some improvement in movement in a couple of days. My hubby went down on some ice a couple of years ago, landing on his side. His arm and shoulder hurt like a bugger for a week and he couldn't lift his arm to the side or out to the front. Turns out he tore 2 out of 3 tendons in the rotator cuff and needed major surgery.

Hopefully all you've suffered is severe bruising, but it doesn't take much to do major damage to your shoulder, so don't delay in getting it looked at if things don't seem quite right.


Here's wishing you a speedy recovery!
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Old 10-30-02, 09:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pete Clark
... I could have ended up like that lady in Boston that was crushed under a bus when she got "doored." ...
Solutions? I will be more careful in the rain, I will avoid debris and sand, I will be more cautious, I will be familiar with my route, I will ride on the smoothest part of the street, I will think of my own safety first instead of how I might inconvenience drivers.
I think of that poor woman, too. I'm glad to hear you're OK, just a bit beat up.

I bike-commute in urban industrial areas with horrendous traffic and no fewer than 10 tracks to cross. My commute probably ranks up there in the top 5% of crappy commutes. I've been remarkably injury/event free for almost 6 years of this though I realize this could change in an instant, as it did for you.

I'd add the following solutions ... be very visible but act as if you're invisible ... NiteRider Digital on flashing mode is the single most effective active safety device in my experience ... always wear hideously bright clothing (at least the traffic may see you if you have an unfortunate fall) ... in a squeeze situation take the lane ... jump, but in safe manner, a red light if the street narrows beyond the light (a San Jose specialty) ... use a bike that can "take it" so as to avoid veering around potholes for fear of hurting the bike (go through potholes) ... install tire liners and the like so as to avoid veering around every pebble on the road surface ... ride straight ... ride predictably ... ride aggressively, but defensively ... let drivers know you know they know you're there ... always, always have an escape route.

Get well, Pete.
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Old 10-31-02, 04:40 AM   #5
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Originally posted by rockymtn_girl
About the shoulder though - you should get it checked out by a Dr. if you don't see some improvement in movement in a couple of days.
Agreed. If it keeps playing up, get something done about it. Hope yuo have a speedy recovery.
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Old 10-31-02, 03:05 PM   #6
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Thanks, all. Shoulder a bit stiff this morning, but as I write it is feeling almost completely normal.
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Old 10-31-02, 05:20 PM   #7
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You really have to be careful with railroad tracks! I've heard of lots of injuries, people breaking collarbones, etc. One guy I know had a bad crash on railroad tracks early in the season. And a few weeks ago, it happened to me! On some old, unused tracks, we go over them all the time but for some reason that day- blat! Apparently there was some dirt on them I didn't see. No injuries, but I landed on the heel of my hand and it hurt so badly I had to go home. I was off the bike for a day or two and was sort of sore. But it took a month for my hand to completely stop bothering me! The next day it was black and blue.

Glad to hear it's nothing serious! Just be very careful with railroad tracks. I now go over those tracks very cautiously. It can also f*** your wheel if it gets caught in the tracks!
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Old 10-31-02, 05:31 PM   #8
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Pete! We're glad you weren't in traffic when that happened, too!

Here's to a quick recovery.

PS - How's the bike?
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Old 10-31-02, 05:45 PM   #9
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Be careful there, Pete. We need you all in one piece.

I had a near accident last year where I almost lost control in a busy intersection. That got me thinking about the dangers of wrecking in the lane of traffic. As a result, I find I am a lot more cautious now when taking corners.
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Old 10-31-02, 05:58 PM   #10
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Last year during the STP ride I was following a guy on a road bike. We were on a road that wasn't too busy so traffic wasn't a big concern. People are constantly going from the shoulder to the lane of traffic and back again on these big rides (8,000 - 10,000 riders). On this particular stretch there was a small space between the shoulder and lane. As if the shoulder was an afterthought and put down at a later date. Well this guy crosses the rut and his bike instantly stops, because his tyre is stuck. He is thrown HARD clear out to the center line of traffic. He's just stunned. He finally stands (even though we tell him not to) and he can't or won't speak. All the questions we are asking him he is just shaking his head and staring into space. Suddenly a group of EMT's that just happened to be riding the STP (not supporting it) come along. I couldn't believe how perfectly timed that was. We left him in their hands and went on our way.
Okay I'm rambling..... Just be careful of those cracks, ruts or whatever you want to call them!
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Old 10-31-02, 06:36 PM   #11
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Thanks for the timely reminder. Sorry you had to crash, but hopefully you will recover quickly and your misfortune will help another rider to be better prepared / more aware under similar conditions.
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Old 10-31-02, 08:25 PM   #12
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Keep us updated with the aches and pains - and most importantly - stay upright on your bike.

Get well soon.
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Old 10-31-02, 08:53 PM   #13
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Glad to hear you are ok!

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Old 11-01-02, 04:15 PM   #14
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Wow , jeep, I wonder what happened to that guy! If he was standing he was probably okay, but it sounds like he was kind of dazed.
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Old 11-03-02, 10:06 AM   #15
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After falling down 2 times on wet tram rails, I switched back from 1.75 to 2.1 tires .

Being overconfident with 2.1 tires I fell down for the 3rd time.

It seems to me now that the angle of crossing rails influences the chances of falling down. The angle should not be sharp. The ideal angle is 90 degrees, i.e. crossing perpendicularly.
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Old 11-03-02, 05:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeepbikerun
Last year during the STP ride I was following a guy on a road bike. We were on a road that wasn't too busy so traffic wasn't a big concern. People are constantly going from the shoulder to the lane of traffic and back again on these big rides (8,000 - 10,000 riders). On this particular stretch there was a small space between the shoulder and lane. As if the shoulder was an afterthought and put down at a later date. Well this guy crosses the rut and his bike instantly stops, because his tyre is stuck. He is thrown HARD clear out to the center line of traffic. He's just stunned. He finally stands (even though we tell him not to) and he can't or won't speak. All the questions we are asking him he is just shaking his head and staring into space. Suddenly a group of EMT's that just happened to be riding the STP (not supporting it) come along. I couldn't believe how perfectly timed that was. We left him in their hands and went on our way.
Okay I'm rambling..... Just be careful of those cracks, ruts or whatever you want to call them!
Was this right around Castle Rock? I remember riding by an ambulance with a lot of people huddled around a rider. I didn't get much of a chance to see what was happening though. I also heard there was a nasty pileup near the start but that was after I had already left.
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Old 11-03-02, 09:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alexey
It seems to me now that the angle of crossing rails influences the chances of falling down. The angle should not be sharp. The ideal angle is 90 degrees, i.e. crossing perpendicularly.
Alexy,

I have crossed rails hundreds of times, but never fell. I always thought to cross perpendicularly.

When I fell, I was trying to cross perpendicularly so my front wheel wouldn't slip into the groove. I still fell.

Be careful, friend.
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Old 11-04-02, 03:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by rockymtn_girl
About the shoulder though - you should get it checked out by a Dr. if you don't see some improvement in movement in a couple of days. My hubby went down on some ice a couple of years ago, landing on his side. His arm and shoulder hurt like a bugger for a week and he couldn't lift his arm to the side or out to the front. Turns out he tore 2 out of 3 tendons in the rotator cuff and needed major surgery.

Hopefully all you've suffered is severe bruising, but it doesn't take much to do major damage to your shoulder, so don't delay in getting it looked at if things don't seem quite right.


Oh no, my shoulder is still hurting from my crash over a week ago!

It's ok on the bike, but sore when I try to lift it. Think I'll see the doc in the next few days if it doesn't improve.
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Old 11-04-02, 04:54 PM   #19
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That sounds like what happened to Tyler Hamilton. He had a crash in the Giro and it turns out he broke a bone in his shoulder and didn't even know it! But he said it hurt and he couldn't lift his arm above his head to wave from the podium.

Really, get that checked out, ASAP!
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Old 11-04-02, 05:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by khuon


Was this right around Castle Rock? I remember riding by an ambulance with a lot of people huddled around a rider. I didn't get much of a chance to see what was happening though. I also heard there was a nasty pileup near the start but that was after I had already left.
We were approximately 5 miles from the school where we eat lunch on the first day. I also heard about the pileup, but that was after we left, also.
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Old 11-04-02, 07:24 PM   #21
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We were approximately 5 miles from the school where we eat lunch on the first day. I also heard about the pileup, but that was after we left, also.
Ahh... okay. I missed that one. My LBS mechanic told me one of his other customers took a spill the first day and although she didn't break anything, had to bail. However, she was kinda woozy from the pain killers they gave her and when she got home, forgot that her bike was still on the roof rack as she drove into the garage. D'oh!
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Old 11-04-02, 11:26 PM   #22
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About a year ago, I was bicycling in downtown Portland for the first time at night. We have a new street car which goes on tracks, and I found one as I was crossing a street. It was wet, and I was down. I hit in nearly parallel, which was the cause of my fall.

Pete, your concern about the traffic was tragically proven again last summer in Oregon. A Cycle Oregon participant was killed when she fell into traffic coming down the McKenzie Highway. As I remember, she was hit by a pickup and dragged--very bad scene.

I'm glad yours was a slight injury. Get well soon.

John
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Old 11-05-02, 10:07 AM   #23
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Ahh... okay. I missed that one. My LBS mechanic told me one of his other customers took a spill the first day and although she didn't break anything, had to bail. However, she was kinda woozy from the pain killers they gave her and when she got home, forgot that her bike was still on the roof rack as she drove into the garage. D'oh!


Had a friend do this too. She had her boyfriend's bike on top of her car to make things worse.
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Old 11-05-02, 06:08 PM   #24
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How's this for a fall?

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Old 11-06-02, 10:02 AM   #25
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That couldn't have ended good.
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