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Old 11-25-09, 09:01 PM   #1
jppe
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One year after my Cycling Buddy was Hit by a Car

He was hit the day after Thanksgiving last year while riding solo. A car turning into a driveway on a 2 lane rural road slammed into my buddy resulting in devastating damage to his left leg, hip and knee.

I can still recall how I felt when I got the phone call while out town-flushed, shocked, speechless, confused and emotional. He and I had shared lots of roads and miles together helping to push each other to be better riders. We talked about a lot of different things out on the rides-I certainly learned the things he was passionate about.

The memories of the many hospital visits-the good days and the bad days-moving him to rehab-comforting his diabled wife-and taking him for doctors visits are still very fresh-too fresh. I recall the various surgeries, and repeated surgeries but lost count of all those.

Seeing his emotions after the local bike club built a ramp in his garage so he could get in and out of his house in his wheelchar was priceless. Hearing and seeing his conviction to get healed and to get back on the bike was inspiring. However there were many, many days where I wondered if he would even walk again.

He continued to revise and push out his goal to ride again as his progress was no faster than a snail's pace-and a snail that might back up before it moved forward again at that.

After a year at least he's walking again, but only with the assistance of a cane. He has a terrible limp that will probably always be his trademark until he can't walk anymore. He's come to grips that he's probably not going to be doing any more time trials, hilly century rides, etc. The only riding he's done has been on the trainer in his house and some spinning classes.

His lawyer and he are still trying to figure out how he can be compensated for thousands of dollars of out of pocket expenses-not to mention all the things he now has to hire someone to do for him. The driver does not have a lot of assets nor much insurance.

He's talked about at least getting out and doing a ride for a few miles the day after Thanksgiving-maybe even just in the neighborhood where he lives, if nothing more than an act of defiance against his misfortune. I know he's changing his focus and preparation the next few years away from cycling to other interests and needs.

I sure wish and would hope with all I could hope for that this would be a story of an injured cyclist recovered and finishing a challenging ride to cheers from a joyful and appreciative crowd. Unfortunately that doesn't look to be the script for my cycling buddy-not this year nor probably the next. However he's alive, his mind is just as sharp as ever, he still can be passionate and he has a caring community supporting him.

For that we can be very thankful!!
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Old 11-25-09, 09:09 PM   #2
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I'm sorry to hear about his accident, but am glad he survived and can walk again, albeit with a cane. Do you think there is anyway he could ride a higher-sitting recumbent trike with electric power assist? If so, do you think your cycling club could pull off getting such a bike for him? The reason I ask is that I just read a post in another forum by a 68-year-old gentleman injured in a hit-and-run. He's surprised everyone by surviving and then pursuing physical therapy; he is now a recumbent trike rider (his trike has a Bionix power assist kit). Just a thought. Try to think of positives. I'm sure your moral support, help and friendship is a great joy to you buddy.

P.S. It took 2-years of recovery for the 68-year-old to get on the trike but he's back on a bike. Don't give up hope for your friend riding again.
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Old 11-25-09, 11:16 PM   #3
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Is liability insurance not required in your state?

Or was the driver driving without insurance?
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Old 11-25-09, 11:36 PM   #4
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Is liability insurance not required in your state?

Or was the driver driving without insurance?
If he only had the minimum, that could be almost nothing. California's minimum is still 15K/30K. $15,000 won't take care of a two day stay at the hospital.
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Old 11-25-09, 11:56 PM   #5
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Thank you for the post. As tragic as your friend's accident was, it is reassuring that he survived and is trying to find his way back to his bike.

He must be an inspiration to all those around him.

Thank you again, give him our best.
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Old 11-26-09, 07:20 AM   #6
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Lets hope and pray his progress towards recovery continues, and that he continues to get stronger. With injuries like he sustained, it will probably take well over an year as mentioned above. And I hope he does get out tomorrow for a short ride. Just getting back on the road will greatly benefit his mindset.
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Old 11-26-09, 07:39 AM   #7
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Among other things, this story is a cautionary tale about how you should insure yourself not only for cycling, but for driving as well.

HIs hospital bills are certainly enormous, even after insurance. The hospitals have liens on any recovery from the at-fault driver. While some of that is negotiable, low insurance limits from the driver's insurer will guarantee that the whole recovery is taken up by medical bills. If the driver does not have substantial other assets, or jppe's buddy lacks the will to spend years fighting an uncertain battle to get them, an injured person can only look to himself for relief.

The only way you can protect yourself is with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or an umbrella policy. Too many people, when trying to save money on insurance, are advised to cut out the UM coverage. That coverage is probably the most valuable coverage in your auto policy.
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Old 11-26-09, 08:53 AM   #8
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Among other things, this story is a cautionary tale about how you should insure yourself not only for cycling, but for driving as well.

HIs hospital bills are certainly enormous, even after insurance. The hospitals have liens on any recovery from the at-fault driver. While some of that is negotiable, low insurance limits from the driver's insurer will guarantee that the whole recovery is taken up by medical bills. If the driver does not have substantial other assets, or jppe's buddy lacks the will to spend years fighting an uncertain battle to get them, an injured person can only look to himself for relief.

The only way you can protect yourself is with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or an umbrella policy. Too many people, when trying to save money on insurance, are advised to cut out the UM coverage. That coverage is probably the most valuable coverage in your auto policy.
This is probably the best advice I have read in a long time - I will review my policies.
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Old 11-26-09, 10:32 AM   #9
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Cannot understand why there are hospital bills at all.

Certainly hope your friend's condition improves.
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Old 11-26-09, 10:37 AM   #10
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The only way you can protect yourself is with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or an umbrella policy. Too many people, when trying to save money on insurance, are advised to cut out the UM coverage. That coverage is probably the most valuable coverage in your auto policy.
Good advice.

Years ago I decided to *raise* my deductibles on my auto insurance policies and spend the savings on increased coverage for UM coverage and an umbrella/personal liability coverage. To me the purpose of auto insurance is to protect against catastrophic losses (liability if you hit someone, medical, catastrophic loss of vehicle, theft), not minor fender scrapes.

BTW, in some states *well over 20% of the drivers on the road* are driving around without auto insurance, legal or not.
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Old 11-26-09, 10:56 AM   #11
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Wishing your friend the best.
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Old 11-26-09, 11:14 AM   #12
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BTW, in some states *well over 20% of the drivers on the road* are driving around without auto insurance, legal or not.
Given the absurdly low legal minimum coverage mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the distinction between uninsured and underinsured motorists is almost academic. In many states I would define the majority of motorists as underinsured.

Best wishes to your friend, who still has much for which to be thankful, including friends like you.
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Old 11-26-09, 12:58 PM   #13
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I can remember the first post of the accident, jppe. I feel terrible for your buddy. From your descriptions, I think he will, eventually, ride regularly again, though maybe not competitively. I wish him all the best.
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Old 11-26-09, 03:11 PM   #14
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I remember you telling us about the accident. A year is a heck of a long time but it sounds encouraging. I agree that it would be good for him to get on the bike as an act of defiance.
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Old 11-26-09, 03:30 PM   #15
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As someone who had the privilege to meet jppe's friend by way of him, I also wish that he continue progress toward recovery. My personal experience with that gentleman is that he was a skilled, passionate and dedicated cyclist, who went out of his way to help other riders, regardless of their abilities relative to his. I only hope that someday he can join jppe and others in our area to ride again. I look forward his company.

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Old 11-26-09, 08:09 PM   #16
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Thanks for this report and please forward my best wishes to your friend from someone in a similar situation, after being mowed down by a red light-running pickup driver, in July.

The damage is to my right side -- mostly lower leg, but also knee, hip, shoulder and neck.

I'm lucky to have both public medical and insurance system that is taking good care of me so far.

Here's hoping he can get back on the bike in some capacity. I'm trying to ready myself for the eventuality that I'll likely not be able to return to the long-distance events that were such an important part of my life. I guess we must count our blessings that things aren't worse, huh?
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Old 11-26-09, 10:35 PM   #17
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Thank you for sharing his status, Joe. There is a lot of hope for much more recovery. My best wishes for his continued progress.

Everyone should have at least one great friend like you.
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Old 11-27-09, 07:00 PM   #18
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Joe, I'm pleased your friend is making progress, albeit slow.
It is yet another example of why the US needs a universal health care system like in other developed countries so that one can not be saddled with enormous hospital bills.
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Old 11-27-09, 08:23 PM   #19
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Thanks for the update. I remember reading your first report of this terrible accident, and was hoping you'd bring us current as to your friend's situation.

And as others have said, everyone needs 1 good friend like you in their lives.

My continued best wishes for your friend's progress.
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