Those who have crashed, and those that will.
I just joined the former last Thursday night on the way home. On a bicycle detour path that had been delineated with sections of chain link fencing, one of the construction workers thought he needed a path, so he made a gate by moving sections inward, blocking the path around a corner. When I came around, I hit that head on, pretty hard.
A few things came out of this encounter.
First, I didn't die. That is a good thing from my perspective. I am sore in all kinds of places, most significantly my right hand that is very bruised and has a substantial hematoma, my left shoulder which has a huge and deep bruise as well as being partially separated, and a large gash in my chin where it hit one of the chain links. I have lots of other minor cuts and bruises as well.
In spite of all the injuries, here is something I didn't get. Significant head injury. What I do have is a helmet with a criss-cross pattern cut into it where the main impact took place as I flew over the handlebars. That impact would have been absorbed by my head if I wasn't wearing the helmet. So, I know there are fans and detractors. I will never know if it saved my life or not, but I definitely know it spared me significant additional injury.
My commuter bike is a total write off. There are some salvageable components, but it is old enough they won't be usable on anything new I get to replace it. The obvious damage is to the front-end where the wheel and fork are just completely mangled. Other damage includes enough of a frame flex to yield almost a five inch sag on the chain, though at a glance you wouldn't see anything obviously wrong with the frame.
I spent a few hours in the ER, getting stitched up and more x rays than I have ever had in the rest of my life combined, ultimately with a cat scan on my hand. They claim no broken bones, and I hope they are right. Ultimately though, it looks like I will enjoy a full recovery, and I am grateful for that. Just last year one of our doctors died on a different construction site when workers did something similar. He was much older than me and his neck snapped, so I know my outcome could have been much worse.
I am dealing with the construction company, who is well-aware they are at fault and thus far have been very cooperative. I don't have a settlement offer from them yet, so I don't know how their cooperation will translate into remediation, but time will tell if I need to get an attorney or not.
Anyway, this is just me rambling.
On the other hand, I will eventually need a new commuter and since I have such a good relationship with my Trek dealer it will probably be something from them. I was thinking of something more practical for commuting than the pure road bike I was using before and was entertaining that new Portland they have. I am curious if anyone has any opinions on that model, specifically for commuting. Keep in mind I have a carbon road bike and a mountain bike, so I don't need to worry about a cross type model to fill more than one purpose.
On the way home last night, driving since I can't ride for a while, I passed by the site where my accident happened and actually witnessed another cyclist almost do the exact same thing. Instead of calling the construction company I decided to call the DOT Project Engineer and tell him about not only my incident, but how the company apparently didn't learn from it and were still doing the same dangerous practice. I then learned he was the engineer for the project that killed our doctor last year and he wasn't at all pleased to learn of what they were doing. He went down there today, inspected the site, and made them change the way they are using the fencing sections so visibility on the corner won't be limited. Hopefully that will prevent someone else from having the same fun evening I had.