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Old 07-28-10, 01:57 PM   #1
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safety warning: do not insert your brake lever into your thigh

Last night was the last of four sessions of classes my partner and I taught. The course was called Let's Ride. It covered traffic handling skills and bike repair.

Near the end of the ride, a student fell, and in a freak accident, the brake lever entered her thigh and was completely submerged under her skin. It caused a lot of pain, and she was in quite a panic because it looked so very gruesome.

As luck had it, very helpful people were right there. We were in a county park, near the edge of the park and a road. In the park was a fire engine with full crew, a patrol car with an officer, an EMT riding his bike, and an OR nurse taking a walk. The officer called for an ambulance, which came quickly, with EMT's, as did an ambulance with paramedics. The cyclist-EMT and my partner disassembled the bike, separating handlebars from the bike so that our student could keep the handlebars in her lap. She didn't want anyone extracting the brake lever. The EMT's agreed and complied, and they gingerly lifted her onto a backboard and then a stretcher, taking great care not to disturb the handlebar/human interface.

The police officer said he is also a cyclist. He does mountain bike races. He had never seen a brake lever pierce a body before. I'm sure he never will again, either.

The student had brought her husband and kids with her for the first time. Husband was riding along with us. The two kids, age 17 and 7, stayed at the ride start point.

By the time the ambulance took the student away, the sun had set, and it was quite dark. I strapped the disassembled remains of the bike to the rack on my bike, and we pedaled through the quite-dark woods to our start point. I talked to the husband, making sure he was calm and wasn't worrying too much.

The kids took the news quite well. My partner and I accompanied husband and kids to the hospital. We found the patient in good spirits. Her injury, as it turned out, was minor. She said that at least half the pain was from the horror of seeing her body invaded in such a shocking and disgusting way. The lever didn't enter any muscle tissue.

She's sore today and has trouble walking, but she says she is looking forward to getting back on the bike.
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Old 07-28-10, 02:05 PM   #2
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I'm sure I'll be able to formulate a coherent response when I'm done cringing in sympathetic pain DAMN!
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Old 07-28-10, 02:06 PM   #3
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There is no smilet face on this forum that accurately reflects my reaction.
Its good to hear it wasn't a major injury, and you are very fortunate to have so much medical staff present.
Also thanks to you for teaching public classes to educate for biking advocacy.
While gruesome, this story replenishes some hope after hearing nonstop "bike vs car" rhettoric.
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Old 07-28-10, 02:06 PM   #4
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Ttiuwp

Seriously though, glad there's no permanent damage...the 64 dollar question:

What kind of brake lever?!
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Old 07-28-10, 02:13 PM   #5
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Working as a nurse in a trauma center, I've seen some pretty strange injuries (papermate pen in a particularly delicate male place) but, I've never seen that one. Glad she's OK and still interested in riding!
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Old 07-28-10, 02:23 PM   #6
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If you are on facebook, you can see a funny video of a friend of mine. This has nothing to do with my story, but since you said ttiuwp...

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=420103164028

Why is it that when I googled that term, I got a lot of pictures of pretty young women with large breasts?
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Old 07-28-10, 02:23 PM   #7
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Dang that would hurt/be horrifying!!! My goodness! Glad she's okay, hopefully she gets back out and riding again.
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Old 07-28-10, 02:27 PM   #8
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I have faith she'll be back on the road soon.
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Old 07-28-10, 02:35 PM   #9
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Why is it that when I googled that term (ttiup) I got a lot of pictures of pretty young women with large breasts?
WOW you aren't kidding!
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Old 07-28-10, 02:44 PM   #10
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What kind of brake lever?!
That's what I was wondering; most of them have that rounded bit on the end, and they should be on the wrong side of the bars to poke the rider anyway.
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Old 07-28-10, 03:14 PM   #11
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A little OT but not much:
Reminder: Everyone out there plug the ends of your handlebars.
It's a USCF rule, and one of the things I check each rider's bike for before each race I ref.
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Old 07-28-10, 03:14 PM   #12
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WOW you aren't kidding!
This Thread Is Uuseless Without Pics. I didn't miss the "W".
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Old 07-28-10, 03:17 PM   #13
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I put a spoke through my left calf when I was a lad. Hurt.
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Old 07-28-10, 03:18 PM   #14
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WOW you aren't kidding!
Try googling "CN tower"

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Old 07-28-10, 03:27 PM   #15
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Try googling "CN tower"

791,999 pics of the CN tower and 1 pic (interestingly the 4th result)....Clearly NOT the CN tower.
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Old 07-28-10, 03:30 PM   #16
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Another reason to have really good insurance and an LLC to protect you. I teach motorcycle riding in the Carolinas through the community college system. They had a fatality at another school in the program last weekend...... I may be rethinking that hobby job.
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Old 07-28-10, 03:45 PM   #17
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Wow, weird accident. I've also never heard of a brake lever causing such an injury. Sounds like it managed to pierce dermal layer and lodge into a layer of fat tissue. Glad to read she's going to be OK.
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Old 07-28-10, 03:46 PM   #18
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791,999 pics of the CN tower and 1 pic (interestingly the 4th result)....Clearly NOT the CN tower.
You didn't pay attention. The CN tower is on the left side of the image. Overwhelmed were we?
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Old 07-28-10, 03:49 PM   #19
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I was teaching it through The Adult School which, I assume, has a full set of lawyers and accountants. Thank goodness for that and for the good nature of my student.
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Old 07-28-10, 03:54 PM   #20
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Wow, weird accident. I've also never heard of a brake lever causing such an injury. Sounds like it managed to pierce dermal layer and lodge into a layer of fat tissue. Glad to read she's going to be OK.
Yes, I think that's what happened.
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Old 07-28-10, 03:58 PM   #21
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I have faith she'll be back on the road soon.
Glad to hear that.
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Old 07-28-10, 04:14 PM   #22
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*Takes a deep breath*

I am not sure I can visit this thread again. I can't stand the thought. Very glad to hear it was minor.

-Kurt
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Old 07-28-10, 04:28 PM   #23
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I'm sure I'll be able to formulate a coherent response when I'm done cringing in sympathetic pain DAMN!
As much as I would like to.. I don't think I can come up with more than OWWOWWW OWWWOWWWOWWWW OWWWWWWWW!!!!! Yikes...

Good to hear all is well..

OWWWWWW
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Old 07-28-10, 04:32 PM   #24
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Yeah, we all cringed every time we looked at it. And we had to look at it a lot to help her.
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Old 07-28-10, 07:38 PM   #25
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Well....when I read the title, I was sure it had something to do with you breaking 50mph on that little hill by your house and discovering brake fade. Happy to read that I was wrong, sorry for your student, hope she heals.

Hey, how about adding a class on proper crashing techniques? I can do "how to hit a parked car 101"
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