Crash Story - Stitches Required
Last Thursday I had my first serious bike accident while commuting. Not too bad considering I've been doing this for three years now.
I commute 8 miles to my job via rural roads in Western New York. After my half hour on the bike I use the shower facilities in one building before hopping on my bike to ride across the road to the building where my desk is. I don't put my helmet or gloves on for this 2 minute ride.
Thursday I left the shower building and was riding down a wide sidewalk/access road that intersects with the parking lot entrance driveway. At the intersection of the driveway and sidewalk is a 4-inch tall speed bump perpendicular to my direction of travel. I aimed for the left edge of the sidewalk (approximately a 12-inch gap) at the end of the speed bump. I observed a vehicle approaching from my right and turned my head to monitor their approach. As I did so I must have veered to the right and struck the speed bump. The next thing I recall is skidding along the pavement on my face and hands. I jumped up and the two guys in the vehicle stopped to see if I was OK. I assured them that I was, but they didn't agree. I then observed the blood dripping onto my dress clothes and headed inside to find a first aid kit. After cleaning up some of the blood in the restroom I took a closer look at my chin. It looked like an animal had taken a bite out of the end of my chin! I called my wife to pick me up and headed over to the Health and Safety office to get the contact info for the nearest urgent care center. (I had already tried my primary care physician, no appointments available until next week.)
While there the nurse notified my that this was actually a Workmens Comp claim because I was on work property. That led to an interesting conversation with the insurance agency later that day!
Urgent care gave me six stitches and said to come back in a week to have them removed. I gave them a bit of a scare when I passed out on the table (I do this regularly when visiting a doctor.) They sent me home for the rest of the day and I hung out with my wife and kids. I'm recovering well, most of the scrapes and bruises are healing quickly. I was back on the bike Monday morning.
Every bit of the commute can be dangerous! I'll be riding with my helmet and gloves on between buildings or just walking (its not really that far). While neither the helmet nor the gloves would have saved my chin, the accident could have been worse had it involved my head striking the pavement instead of sliding along it.