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.
A helmet wouldn't have helped your chin I don't think. This happened to me a long time ago when I shed a chain and it jammed in the back wheel. Went over the front of the bike straight onto my chin. Luckily i got a bona-fide plastic surgeon with not much to do that day to sew the flap back on and the scar is pretty much invisible.
A helmet wouldn't have helped your chin I don't think.
Well, there are helmets available with chin guards. I doubt many people would want to wear them while commuting since they tend to have little in the way of ventilation and look too extreme by at least half for most folk's taste. Good luck to the OP on the recovery. I had a nasty accident earlier this year myself but am now back in the saddle and enjoying it as much as ever.
I nearly had a head on collision with a car this year because of speed bumps. My commute cuts through the parking lot for a park district swimming pool and they have speed bumps in the access road to the lot which also has parking along one side. Heading in the lot is empty in the morning though in the summer the pool is open early and a few parents are driving in and out to drop off children. Inbound I ride in the empty parking area along the access road since the speed bumps do not extend into that area and it puts me well out of the way of auto traffic. Or so I thought. One morning I was going in and got distracted by something off to the side. When my attention returned to the road here is a woman coming right at me so that she can avoid the speed bumps. She is effectively two lanes over on the wrong side of the road but, hey, it's a speed bump, she has a right to avoid it! It wasn't that close a call, just very annoying. I fear that something worse happened in that same lot because of those speed bumps because not three days later they had extended them all the way across the parking area too. I have to use the pedestrian walkway now to avoid the bump which is not a problem since there are rarely any walkers out that time of day. Further up that road there is another bump that I can only avoid by shooting the gap between the end of the bump and the curb. I watch that like a hawk though. It might be safer to just slow down and take the bump given the OP's experience.
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.
That sounds very ADA noncompliant - a wheelchair won't fit through a 12" gap. Possibly an unnecessary trip hazard for pedestrians, too.
While I agree that helmets and gloves should be worn at all times, I think the moral of the story here is to watch where you're going!
Here's to wishing you a speedy recovery!
I had a chance to talk with the guy that was in the approaching vehicle today. I asked if he saw me crash. In his words, "You weren't looking where you were going!"
He was right, I should have not looked away (the vehicle was far enough away that I wasn't in danger from it) while negotiating the narrow gap.
Recovery is going well, stitches come out tomorrow. I have a nasty bruise at the intersection of leg and pelvis which still hurts and a funny lump in my right forearm, but the other scrapes are healing nicely.