I was riding along a semi-rural four lane highway yesterday morning, about an hour before dawn, picking my way around broken bottles and bits of shredded metal, attempting to stay right of the kerbside white line...
... when something thumped against me... HARD. I felt a jolt to my left shoulder and helmet, and my left ankle stung, as if pricked with a needle. The bike went all wobbly, but I managed to catch it and remained upright.
I looked up in time to see a big dark red van pulling a very large boat... one of those outrageously expensive 60mph ski boats, that one can also use for fishing. (Except that fish can't swim that fast...) I yelled after him, but, naturally, he just kept on going, doubtless toward a dawn rendezvous with the nearby lake.
I seemed none the worse for the experience, a bit shaken, perhaps, so I continued on to work. Once at the office, here is what I found:
My black helmet had a flat spot on it's left rear flank, with what appeared to be white paint scraped on it. I had the beginnings of a big bruise on my left shoulder... and, looking down, I had a blood soaked left sock and shoe. I pulled down the sock to find that my ankle bone had been scraped very deep, but didn't appear to require medical attention... so I attended to it myself.
The bike's left pedal, an alloy-bodied "bear-trap," was covered on it's end with a black goo... Suddenly I realized that it was rubber... from the boat trailer's tire! The toe clip's strap was shredded as well. Oddly, the rear wheel has a wobble to it, but I can find no scrape mark or evidence of impact... Unless the act of being pushed sideways was enough to mess it up.
This was a too-close encounter, and I found myself flinching from passing traffic on the ride homeward, as I daydreamed of emptying my .357 into the hull of that van driver's boat... Float THIS, maudit chauffard!
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
Did you get a #?
I've had a few close encounters like that (although I've never been hit). Personally I think you should report this **** to the police. This had the potential to do some really serious damage. Of course, if you have the # and the police do nothing, there are other options... but this probably isn't the place to discuss those.
I hope you recover real fast.
"I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
"We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers. My blog. My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.
Cambrone, that story is too frightening. You are a lucky cat. If you have the courage to bike again after that, then you are a big big man.
Is it just me, or are motorists becoming less sensitive to bicyclists. It seems that these days I have close calls with automobiles at least every other day. The worst offender for our area are women who do not go around me or give me enough clearance. Sometimes their cars even brush me as they go by. They just keep going - sometimes even looking in the rearview knowing that they hit me.
The other day, I followed a woman to the light, knocked on her window, and politely told her that she almost hit me. She said "Ya, it seemed really close... I just wasn't sure how to go by you", she said. "Didn't know how to go by me", so she decides just to go straight through me!
As fewer people bicycle, motorists are becoming less aware of bicyclists and less skillful at sharing the road with them. THIS, I see is one of the biggest threats to the expansion of bicycling as a form of transportation in the USA.
I was riding, with lights, on the highway shoulder one night, a couple of feet to the right of the fog line. I decided, why I don't know, to move to the outside of the shoulder. As I was moving to my right, a wheel of a very large Semi-Truck went right over the line I had been holding. It couldn't have been much closer he was about a foot or two away.
Are there really gaurdian angels?
...regarding one's tenuous grip on life... is essential when facing these little hazards.
I'm not begging for someone to run me down and squash me like a bug, but it sure beats dying of an infected bedsore in a nursing home...
I also keep with me the sage words of a man I met... briefly... some thirty years ago. I was working for a radio shop in the Paris-Ile-de-France area... we made "house calls." I had to repair a mobile radio in one of those huge tower cranes, as it was being used to erect a corporate office in La Defense, our business district.
I was young, I was brave, (excited, actually) so I donned a hardhat, pocketed some tools, and rode a scaffold to an upper stage, then climbed to the wheelhouse. The wheelhouse was over a hundred meters up... and I could see ALL of Paris below me. Wow.
Well, the problem was a pulled-apart antenna cable... on the spar, another ten meters above the wheelhouse. I went all the way back down, and returned with a new cable and more tools. The operator had stopped the crane, and brought out his lunch.
As I climbed out through the roof, waaaay high over the city, the operator said:
"Be careful. And if you're not, remember... It won't hurt but for a second or two."
I like to think that statistics, which point to a lower death rate of cyclists due to accidents, compared with motorists (and not just because there are fewer of us), are right. Statistics also make flying a commercial airline safer than driving a car.
What about that truck driver in my city who lost control of his vehicle and smashed into the median wall? He unfortunately died, but not from the accident: he had a heart attack. I also read about a 90 year old man who was killed on his bicycle by a woman who said he swerved in front of her. Tragic as it was, the whole story about him revealed that he had started cycling for his health at age 65, and that he was participating in group rides of 50 to 100 miles, even at his age. Would he have lived 25 more years behind the wheel of a car? Maybe, but never as happily.
I was traveling east across an intersection .. I had a green light ....
I'm crossing the street on the bike pedlling .. I turn my head to the right and there is this ****ing big white car going 70km/h straight for me going north running her red light. I immediately hit BOTH brakes at the same time and basically stopped on a dime..
This wasn't enough to stop in time... She nailed my front fork and that was the last thing I felt ... aparently I went one way and hit the street and my bike got sent about 10-20 metres up the street the other way..
When I came to and woke up, I found myself on the grass at the side of the road with a whole bunch of people around me. Aparently I got up and walked to the side of the road... I don't remember this cause I had a major concussion ....
Blood was gushing from my nose so the reaction of the people , one guy told me to put both hands on my nose and apply pressure. I will never forget this feeling ... AS soon as I did ... I heard/felt a huge crack ... "ummm... I think I just broke my nose" hahaha... Then Mr. Ambulance came and got to the hospital and got all stitched up and x-rayed ...
I was SOOOOOO LUCKY my brakes worked great because if I stopped just like about 2 more feet further I would have been through that 81 year old's WINDSHIELD and probably dead .... It scared the hell out of me and that's when I decided to give up street riding and take up FULL MTBing ... As you can tell, now I'm not affraid of some good bangs and scraps =)
SHIMANO SAVED MY LIFE ! hahhaha .. just kiddin' .. =)
P.S. look both ways 158 times before crossing the road....
I wonder if you would have fared better if you had not been on the sidewalk.
Sidewalk biking is particularly dangerous because motorists do not look at the sidewalks when they enter intersections.
For this reason, I advocate bicyclists riding in the street unless the street is insanely congested. When you are on the sidewalk, be extra careful at intersections.
Old ladies in big cars are dangerous - PERIOD! They are the absolute worst drivers followed by middle-aged housesewives with kids in the car and then beer drinking rednecks. Am I prejudice? Maybe, but it is a prejudice based on a lot of experience. Once bit, twice shy.
Thus, riding in the road might not have saved you from your accident, but your story gives a good opportunity to mention the dangers of riding on the sidewalk.
I'm sorry , forgot to mention I wasn't on the sidewalk ... hehe ... I was stopped at the red light then it turned green and get this ..... the lady did not even hit her brakes .. she didn't see me when I was only 1 metre in front of her bumper .... Anyway ... I later found out she lives right up my street. *LOL* and I used to deliver her newspaper when I was younger ... how's that for weird ...
anyway .. I do not DOUBT for a second that I had someone watching over me that day because I would have been through her windshield if I wasn't blessed with the quick reflexes I have =)
I thank for that one and I'm not a religious person at all =)
Actually, no joke. This same thing happened to my wife, but she was driving. She was the first one at the light, and it turned green. So, don't we normally "go" at a green light? So, she went. Half a second later, a large Chevy came barrelling through the intersection from the left, in the lane closest to her. Fortunately (like Doc. B), just the tip of the nose of her little Ford Festiva (a ******* box on skate wheels) was in the way. The meteor clipped the left corner of her bumper and gave her a real amusement park ride (spun her around). No one was hurt (thinking again about those invisible "winged" beings), but now, whenever the light turns green, she looks both ways and moves very slowly out into the intersection.
Doctor Boobenheimer, your post was very helpful to us all. Intersections can be very deadly. I, for one, am glad you shared that.
Talk about old ladies not knowing what is going on around them as they zoom by with their big cars, check out my post "Anybody have any "I was almost killed by a white-hair" stories?"
I was almost hit by a white haired old lady. The cops took after her for me and chased her for more than seven blocks and through three busy intersections. With their lights on and the siren blaring, she eventually noticed them and finally stopped.
"I can't see those darned bicycles!" (or other cars, or trains or houses...)