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Thread: Close Call

  1. #1
    Senior Moment Litespeed's Avatar
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    Close Call

    Last night coming back from my ride, I'm riding down a busy street that has 3 lanes going in my direction. Cars are stopping for a light up ahead and I didn't notice that a gap had been created. A truck took a left turn thru the stopped cars and suddenly is right in front of me. I tried to do an emergency stop (I was only going about 12 mph) and trying to unclip at the same time. I lost my balance and went down (hard). Luckily my helmet took the major blow and I was able to ride away with only minor road rash and a few bruises. It must have looked kind of comical though, there I was laying on the side of the road, one leg in the air and my bike completely upside down, wheels in the air on top of me. The man felt really bad and kept asking if I was ok. He made the comment "I hate when people do that" meaning the maneuvue he just did, going through a gap in traffic. It seems like I always have to learn my lessons the hard way. I am always watching for people pulling out from a driveway, not thinking they may come from the other direction through traffic. I will certainly be more aware from now on, especially on that section of road and I need to practice my emergency stops. Right now I'm thinking, maybe I'm to old for this (53) and I should find something safer, like gardening, but I know I could be in a traffic accident in my car which would be about the same thing. It will take me the rest of the day to settle down but I will be right back on my bike probably tomorrow, with eyes a little wider open.

  2. #2
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry to hear about your accident and glad you're okay!

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    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    No matter how we resolve to be alert, aware, etc.....something new can come through our guard....accidents happen. Glad you managed to "scrape" through. Best wishes!

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    Senior Member Trek Al's Avatar
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    It's good news that you weren't injured. That turning through traffic is a dangerous move, I never accept the offer in my car. Please don't stop riding due to this, 53 is too young to stop doing anything. Avoid this street until you get your confidence back up.

    Al

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Too bad you fell, hope your scrapes heal quickly. As you say, you now will be more aware of that danger. And you did stop and not hit the truck. Many, many people learn the hard way. Not many admit it.

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    Senior Member dagna's Avatar
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    Glad you're basically okay! (Though I'm sure those scrapes are smarting.) Thanks for sharing the experience. This is something I wouldn't usually think about, which I will now know to keep an eye out for.

    Dagna

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    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Very happy you made it out pretty much okay. I drive, but realize how chaotic traffic is. It always seems that some weird incedent is going to pop up. Drivers just seem too rushed all the time.

    On the good side, your injuries appear minor and will heal quickly. Also, since riding, I've learned to be an even better driver. Much more aware of what other drivers are doing out on the road.

    Hope you're back on your bike again soon.

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litespeed
    Right now I'm thinking, maybe I'm to old for this (53) and I should find something safer, like gardening, but I know I could be in a traffic accident in my car which would be about the same thing. It will take me the rest of the day to settle down but I will be right back on my bike probably tomorrow, with eyes a little wider open.
    Nah. Gardening hurts almost as much with all that digging and rakeing and bending and stooping. Then there's the special clothing like welly boots that give you blisters, and the special gloves that stop the thorns going through the hand but doesn't stop them in the arms. Then there's the expense of all the latest gardening tools, and the plants. Admittedly you don't get cars running up the lawn too often, but how about the mower?

    More people are injured around the house than in traffic accidents, so get on the bike, leave the road and get up on the hills, or in the woods and forget about retirement. Only thing is, you have had one warning to bring you back to reality, so you will be keeping your eyes open in future. You won't be doing that in the easy chair in the garden, when the Kids/ dog/ hubby decide to run amock and you are in the way.

  9. #9
    70PLUS
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    It was good to read you only suffered minor scrapes and perhaps some hurt pride. I would be interested in knowing what you would do different if the situation repeated itself. You mentioned trying to get unclipped. I have not gone to clipless pedals yet but understand from others that when hurried getting unclipped can be problematic. My first ride this spring I went off the pavement into soft sand and could not get free of the clips. I went over much like you described.

    Where I ride the majority of drivers show no mercy. On back country roads they blast by at high rates of speed and seem to resent making room. So defensive riding is the norm.

    I am 70 going on 40 and have no intention of giving up biking.

  10. #10
    Senior Moment Litespeed's Avatar
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    I think what I would have done differently would have only unclipped with my left foot and not the right. My first thought when I saw the truck was "I'm going to fall". Even if you do fall in clippless pedals your feet come out automatically 99% of the time. For some reason I just had it in my mind that I wanted both feet out and I'm sure that is what caused me to become unbalanced, especially since I am not use to taking my right foot out while I'm riding. My husband practices his emergency stops all the time. I'm going to start that, probably in a parking lot, setting down markers of where to start my emergency stop and where I want to end it, that way I can see exactly how long it will take me to stop at any given speed. I had learned emergency stops when I took a free bicycling course not to long ago but haven't practiced it since.

  11. #11
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I'm glad you're OK and getting back on the bike right away. I had a serious accident last year and had difficulty (physically, and a little psychologically) riding again, but I am back now stronger than ever.

    Hurst, in his Urban Cycling book, talks about the dangers of "the gap." Any time there is a break in heavy traffic, expect someone to suddenly make their left turn without really looking. I guess you found that out the hard way!

    It does sound like a good idea to practice emergency stops, too. I think I'll go do that now.

  12. #12
    Senior Moment Litespeed's Avatar
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    Seems my mind was more effected from the fall then body. My bruises have healed but not my mind. I tried going out on a fairly easy ride today but found it almost impossible at some points to even make myself turn over the pedals I was so scared. It certainly isn't fun to ride if your terrified. After 5 miles I turned around and came back home. To say the least I'm depressed. I have some other issues to get over to, like the death of my brother a month and a half ago. I think I will hang up the bike and see if there is a point in the future when I miss it so much I actually want to try again.

  13. #13
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Litespeed-really sorry to hear about all the challenges and current issues. While we all share a common interest in cycling, I hope we all recognize cycling is just a opportunity to get some exercise, or maybe meet others that share a similar interest or possibly just a chance to enjoy some time away to ourselves.

    The only thing I can suggest it trying to get out with someone else for a short ride or two. Maybe being with another rider will help detract from some of the other stuff.

    Good luck with working things out-we're pulling for you!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I am so sorry to hear of your accident, and your current recovery from your brother's death.

    Sounds like you may have a little post traumatic stress disorder, with some pretty heavy stuff piling up on you.

    It is a good idea to take a break. Sometimes gentle walks or even hard walks are a nice change.

    I know that when I was going through a particularly tough time a few years back, I would go and walk and walk and walk, sometimes hours, and it had a very healing effect on me. This is especially true if you can find a quiet, relaxed nature-type walking place.

    Good luck. It won't be too long before you ar out there riding again. But wait until your mind and body say "OK."

  15. #15
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Litespeed,
    Definitely tough days you're in. To keep your "foot on the pedal" so to speak, maybe a tour de garage on the windtrainer until you're ready to go out on the road.....any off-street bike trails in your neighborhood? Put some fatter tires on an old road bike (or use a mtn bike) and take to some dirt trails? Riding in a different milieu for a while...but still riding nonetheless. Best wishes.

  16. #16
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Litespeed,

    I didn't realize you're in the San Diego area until now. Me too. If you'd like to ride together sometime, let me know. Maybe that would help?

    I'm just getting back into it, but I'm progressing rapidly. Today was a very satisfying 32 miler.

    Anyway, my point is, if you'd still like to ride and want a riding partner from time to time, just let me know. So far, I'm always riding alone!
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    Hey Litespeed,

    I know what you mean about the mind being more affected. I ran into a pedestrian a couple of yrs ago on a bike path (I called "on your left!) and he went left. It wasnt serious, luckily for either one of us but for quite a while after that I was unreasonably scared of all pedestrians. It did take a lot of the fun out of riding for a while, but I reasoned that even if it wasnt as fun I still needed the exercise. And then after a while I got the old mojo back. I would encourage you to get on out there and it WILL come back to you. Good Luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litespeed
    Seems my mind was more effected from the fall then body. My bruises have healed but not my mind. I tried going out on a fairly easy ride today but found it almost impossible at some points to even make myself turn over the pedals I was so scared. It certainly isn't fun to ride if your terrified. After 5 miles I turned around and came back home. To say the least I'm depressed. I have some other issues to get over to, like the death of my brother a month and a half ago. I think I will hang up the bike and see if there is a point in the future when I miss it so much I actually want to try again.
    I'm sorry to hear about your close call and can understand how fearful that must have been. Although I haven't experienced what happened to you, I'm afraid of my shoes. I am also sorry to hear about the death of your brother. I hope you don't hang up the bike because, for me, riding is one the best things for stress or sadness. My son's best friend was killed in an auto accident on Easter Sunday - he was 21 years old. I think about him alot - we all miss him - his birthday was Saturday. My son called me and was so sad. After the call I got out and rode - it helps get out the anger and sadness. Perhaps riding in a different place, or on a trainer, or as someone said, in the garage. Just something. Hang in there.

    Kathy in NJ

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    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    The responses to Litespeed's post represent the best of this forum. Lots of compassionate people willing to share their own experiences to help others. I'm proud to be among you.
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