Advocacy & Safety - After being hit by a car...
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12-02-02, 01:43 AM
I'm sure there's got to be more than a couple of people in here that have been hit by a car before.
I was riding to work on Wed. morning, the day before Thanksgiving, when I was struck by minivan that didn't stop for a red light in time (I had a green light). The driver, it turned out, was DUI. Yes, DUI at 9:30AM wed. morning! The cops ended up hauling him away in cuffs.
Luckily, I wasn't seriously hurt. I have a bunch of truly magnificent bruises and some lingering aches. My bike wasn't so lucky and I'm having to get a new one. :(
Of course the first thing I did after getting my hands on a bike was get on it and ride. Back on the horse, so to speak.
What I'm wondering though is, am I ever going to get the pleasure of cycling back? When do I stop thinking about how it felt to be flying through the air like that? Am I ever going to stop thinking constantly as I ride about all the cars out there that could get me? When will I stop dreading my commute to and from work? The feeling I have for cycling now has sort of become this sense of grim accomplishment that I haven't let this stop me from riding, but it's not what I'd call fun.
I think it would have been easier on me if I had been at fault somehow, like running a red light. If I could say to myself, 'Self, that was a really stupid thing you did. Don't do that again.' But no, I was following all the traffic rules. I'd checked the intersection. He would have had plenty of time to stop if he hadn't been soused. I even looked. He'd been trying to stop, because I could see his brake lights go on. I really can't see how I could have done anything to prevent this.
12-02-02, 02:02 AM
Welcome back to the forums. I'm glad to hear you were unhurt. I had a bad crash last October although I wasn't hit by a car. I was nervous on the bike for a few days afterward. I think the only thing to do is just keep riding and this problem will sort itself out. Of course, going for a ride somewhere different (preferably somewhere really scenic) could also help.
Of course, the fact that the cops dragged this guy away might mean that he's learned a lesson.
12-02-02, 02:29 AM
I totally understand where you are coming from. Hopefully I can give some type of advice. I bike alot, no that's an understatement. But it seems the more you ride the more your chances go up that you're going to be hit, or hit, or crash or something of that matter. This isn't a bad thing at all. It just how things go. I've been hit, or nearly hit quite a few times. (There are enough drivers that have NO clue what they are doing to make their own state) Everytime though, except twice (involved the ambulance :D) I have gotten on my bike that day or the next and road. Yes for a good few weeks you will be very very cautious, insane cautious. Compare it to a car accident, it freaks you out after it happens. You, or someone else could of been seriously injured. But do give up driving? Nope. You just fill the bad boy up and go on with it.
I'll stop my ranting (it's 430 am where I am)
Give it a few weeks, ride where there are minimum cars. But don't give up. If you truely love this sport, or just the thought of turning pedals and having the breeze blowing on your face you'll forget about the idiot that hit you and the accident. It will become one of those stories you can tell when all the guys at the bar are being hard a$$e$ and telling their "War" stories.
If nothing has changed in the next week, try a group ride. Go out with a friend and just ride for the fun of it. That will find your love if everything else fails..
Ok I'm done ranting, hope I helped some
12-02-02, 02:31 AM
well, good to hear that you weren't hurt.
i can't really offer any advice, but i can relate a little... i've only had 3 actual collisions with cars and all were back when i was in college and way less experienced and less defensive of a cyclist - i rode like i had driven a car: when i have the right of way then all is OK. in 2 accidents i was not at fault (the other i was riding at night without lights).
the last 10 years or so, at least 2-3 times a year i have a close call where something similar to your description occurs -- i.e. i'm riding legally and have the right of way but a car driver does something wrong -- and i see my life flash before my eyes and whatever. and this is scary and i know what you mean abot the dear that every car is out to get you. but through a combination of good luck and REALLY good experience to observe and anticipate what drivers are doing i haven't had a collision in the last 10 years while riding an average of over 3000 miles per year (OK, a lot is off-road, so maybe average of 1500 miles a year on the street the last 10 years and much more then last few years)
i can understand if you have some paranoia and i think you either have to deal with it somehow over time or, sadly, limit your cycling to off-road/controlled event cycling...
maybe working with your local bike advocacy group to help increase safety for bikes...
as to the "not having made a mistake" thing. i can relate to what you're saying, but (and i don't mean that your accident was avoidable or in any way your fault) you can always learn more about how to ride safely... fortunately i haven't had much contact with drunk drivers, but i've had other encounters where i looked drivers in the eye and they pulled right in front of me when i had the right of way (i "knew" they were going to stop), but now from experience i am more likely to "know" when they won't stop even though it seems like they should. anyway, i guess i mean that maybe you CAN work on improving your "stealth" and defensive cycling skills and so have something positive to work towrds improving and giving the mental feel that you can ride again...
good luck and i hope the full joy of cycling returns to you soon!
I am very glad to know that you didn't suffer much physical damage, but you WERE hurt.
You are known to be a bicycle enthusiast and bicycling gave you great pleasure. You have been a dedicated bicycle commuter. You are well known on the forums here.
Now, you are afraid to get on that bicycle. The pleasure of bicycling has been replaced with fear and emotional distress. THAT, my young friend, IS injury.
Drunk drivers. I hate them. Who wants to bet the guy doesn't have insurance. He might not even have a driver's license. Why is it that the DRUNK was operating the motor vehicle and the sober person was on a bicycle? Shouldn't it be the other way around?
Anyway, as far as getting pleasure from riding, you were probably never so afraid of riding a bicycle as the second time you sat on one and Dad gave you a push. The calamity of the first fall was fresh in your memory. Roll, fall, crash. Roll, fall, crash. Maybe there was even some bruise or blood. Still, it was from THAT humble experience that all future wonderful bicycling experiences have come.
Of course you have many wonderful joys of bicycling ahead of you. Get back on the bike and feel your father's hand on your saddle.
I had an "I know I have the right-of-way" encounter the other day. I was stopped at a light on a 2-lane road which has a left-hand turn lane in each direction. Since I was going straight, I had the right-of-way when the light changed. I started out, but saw that the car that had been waiting in the left turn lane facing me had started to turn into my lane. It was too late for me to stop and let the car go, so I just stood on my pedals and was able to get out of the way in time. The whole time, I was staring at the driver, who clearly was looking right at me and was no doubt certain that she had the right-of-way. She showed no signs of slowing down even when it was apparent that there was a risk of collision.
I can only hope that the next time, I will do a better job of divining a driver's intentions and can avoid a similar dangerous situation. All this, of course, without completely giving up the assertiveness that is required to share the road with cars.
Sorry to hear about your accident. Take your time getting back in the groove. If your passion is strong enough, you will slowly forget the accident and start enjoying the riding again.
Sory to hear about your accident, but from past experience, you will always be a bit more wary of drivers, but your enjoyment won't be diminished in the long term.
You can look on it that you have lenghtened the odds of having another accident, if that helps.
12-02-02, 10:10 AM
Glad to hear you weren't seriously hurt. After I hit a car a couple of years ago when I had the right of way (he either made a left turn in front of me, or just went through the intersection without seeing me, I can't remember which) I was a little nervous for a few days, and was really second guessing myself about what I could have done to avoid the accident. The bottom line was IT WAS HIS FAULT. It's just something that you will work through and in the end you will be a little more aware, and therefore be a more confident cyclist...and have a new bike! Take care.
12-02-02, 10:13 AM
I was hit from behind by a car this past April. I experienced the same feelings you're going through right now, but trust me, it eventually goes away. I was fortunate enough to be able to get on my bike the following night (after a thorough checking over of my bike by my LBS and a green light from my doctor), but I still freaked out every time a car passed me from behind for weeks later and it was probably about 8 weeks before I was able to ride past the accident site by myself. Since April, I've completed 2 centuries and one 3-day ride from Ground Zero in NYC to the Pentagon, so I guess you can say I've put the accident in the past. But I'll forever be more wary of cars than I was before the accident...
All the best to you!
12-02-02, 12:41 PM
My greatest empathy to you, H.R. I am relieved to hear that you weren't more seriously injured!
There is nothing that sticks in one's mind quite so well as a crash.
But if you decide to keep on bicycling, you have chosen the best way: get back on the bike.
When I look back at my crashes, I realize I can't change the past. So instead, I look at my experience as added wisdom that will help me in the future.
I still love to ride! (But I'm more sober than before.)
12-02-02, 01:05 PM
Glad you've come off lightly.
I've only had two minor crashes, both on ice, and I know how shaken I was despite only minor bruising.
I'm sure you're confidence and enjoyment will come back, but don't feel guilty if you need to take it easy for a while.
Glad to hear you weren't hurt seriously.
I've never been hit but have had a few close calls. Even after those close ones I was a little wary of cars for a while.
I guess it's just a fact of life. Bad experiences, whatever the source, seem to stick in the back of our minds far too long. :(
You may walk for a while.
Or jog very early in the morning when there are very few cars around. You need some time to overcome shock.
What a swine that driver.
Good thing you're okay Hilary, considering how drunk drivers can be so dangerous! Pity about the bike, though.
I joined the 'hit by a car'club in mid october. It happened at a busy intersection and the guy wasn't going fast, to make a long story short I broke a bone in my hand and hurt my back where I landed and also had some lovely bruises. It pretty much ended my season. The bike is okay but needs some repairs, none major. In my case, the driver took off.
I'm glad this came up because the issue of getting back on the horse, so to speak was on my mind. Since getting on the bike wasn't an option anyways, I never got to find out one way or another how I would feel right after. If I hadn't been injured, would I have gone riding again right away? I've always been confident but cautious with drivers and cars, but I wonder how I'll feel when i start riding again! I did have the 'willies' for a while after, thinking about even getting on a bike, and wondered if I'd ever feel confident on a bike as I used to. I guess it's a normal worry.
However, I realized recently that I didn't have the willies anymore. I was watching a tv news story about a local cyclist and thought gee, I miss being on my bike and realized that if I could, I'd go for a ride today. But I won't know how I'll feel until I'm back on the road again, with the cars. I went through that intersection a million times without incident, although I always hated that particular intersection and I probably will avoid it from now on, especially at rush hours!
12-03-02, 04:32 AM
I'm glad to hear that you're OK. I got hit this April, and I've just had my first day of snow on the commute (been back RIDING since mid September - had a broken clavicle) and you'll be happy again riding.
Just have to remember that they're out there trying to kill you. They are not ALL trying to kill you, but you'd be surprised at how benefitial this world-view will be riding on a bicycle with cars/buses/trucks/tanks/apcs ad nauseum out there.
Be careful out there, but don't stop riding!
P.S. Although I wasn't at fault in my accident either, I WAS riding my bike when I got hit, and I was responsible for not AVOIDING the accident.
Originally posted by Tom_The_Bikeman
Just have to remember that they're out there trying to kill you.
Jeez, Tom, that doesn't sound very inviting. Best just stay home and watch TV where it's safe.:eek:
12-03-02, 09:20 AM
hi Hillary ,sorry to hear about your mishap,just talking about it on here will help i`m sure, sounds like it could have been much worse. the silver lining to the cloud is that youve taken a dangerious driver off the road , you never know if he did`nt hit you he may have gone on to hit someone else & kill them , may be a child! be at peace & take your time , if you feel unsafe @ traffic lights,dis-mount & walk across for a while,good luck:angel:
glad to hear you were unhurt, hillary, and glad to offer encouragement, but i'm going to take a different approach to your question. the fact is it can only be answered from within.
part of bicycling safely is having confidence in your street smarts. if you were injured such that you no longer have that confidence, or, worse, you are no longer having fun, perhaps it's time to give mountain biking a try. wide open spaces and not a car in sight. you WILL crash (much more often than on the street), but there will be no cars to mow you down.
however you fee now, i'd give it a few weeks to decide. remember that there are only two kinds of cyclists: those who have crashed and those who WILL crash eventually.
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