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Old 12-16-06, 09:45 AM   #1
kokomo61
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My first crash.....

One of the things that my wife has been very worried about since I started biking is my safety. (I had an accident 2 1/2 years ago that fractured my spine and came darn close to paralyzing my legs). Over the past 2 years, I've gotten myself into better shape than before the accident, and have come to love cycling. I do between 75-100 miles a week between a 43M RT commute and a weekend ride. With the weather this week, I've done 120 miles, so I'm really loving it.

Today, I was on the return leg of a 30 miler on the W&OD trail in Northern Virginia. I felt pretty good, and was able to catch a cyclist that I'd been pursuing for about 8 miles (that was tough!) I was pushing on the way home, and saw a couple cyclists in front of me. Because we were approaching a busy intersection, I stayed back, and let them know I was behind, giving a bike length's distance as we were slowing down. The rider on the RH side (they were riding 2 abreast) turned his head to say something back to me, and his wheel dipped off the right side of the MUP. I saw him try to correct, and I quickly braked and turned left, but he essentially stopped in place as he went down. A million things went through my head in about 1/2 a second, but the two things I remember were BRAKES! and GET OUT OF THE PEDALS! (in my head of course). I got out of the right pedal, but couldn't get out of the left, and I went down as soon as I ran into him (actually ran over the top and fell).

This could have been much worse. We had already slowed down to about 12 MPH or so, and I braked hard enough to scrub off a lot of speed. Turning left had me miss a direct hit, and I was able to slow my fall before contact.

Nobody was seriously hurt, thankfully. He had a cut on his leg (probably from his pedal), but not a big one. Somehow, he hit hard on his butt, and I think his shoulder banged into something. I got an abrasion on my elbow and a slight scuff on my hip. Fortunately, everyone was OK.

For the bikes and gear, it could have been worse, too. I had a small tear on my glove, and a small rip at the back of my saddle. Not a scratch elsewhere on the bike. (with a new CF bike, I was worried that something might have cracked). His bike was a bit worse, but still rideable. Broken dork disk which we discarded, and his rear wheel was a bit out of true. His handlebars took the worst of it. While his brifter got a good scuff, it wasn't bent or otherwise damaged. His bars were definitely bent, though, so I think he'll be getting a new set.

Neither of the riders in front of me were wearing helmets, so they were lucky. I won't get on a bike without one.

....and I'll be putting more distance between myself and the riders in front of me. This could have been MUCH worse.
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Old 12-16-06, 10:28 AM   #2
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I don't have scientific evidence to support this but it is my impression that low speed crashes are more dangerous... Anyone else has thought of this?

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Old 12-16-06, 10:41 AM   #3
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My last big crash was on Black Monday Oct 19,1987 the day of the big stock market crash and only a week after I got married. I was coming down a hill on my Miyata Ridgerunner mtn bike commuting to work when I ran off a 3" lip on the shoulder of the road and overcorrected to the left and fell on my right wrist breaking it. A few years later also commuting to work I crashed on black ice and went face first down on the pavement and only had a scrape just above my lip.
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Old 12-16-06, 02:52 PM   #4
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I've seen videos that show it's impossible to avoid overcorrecting to the left when bringing a tractor-trailer truck back onto the main road at speed after having dropped the right wheels off of the road surface. They tell you to stop completely, then steer back on. I wonder if it's the same for bikes.




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My last big crash was on Black Monday Oct 19,1987 the day of the big stock market crash and only a week after I got married. I was coming down a hill on my Miyata Ridgerunner mtn bike commuting to work when I ran off a 3" lip on the shoulder of the road and overcorrected to the left and fell on my right wrist breaking it. A few years later also commuting to work I crashed on black ice and went face first down on the pavement and only had a scrape just above my lip.
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Old 12-16-06, 04:31 PM   #5
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The instruction I've had on a race track (for cars) always taught brake first until the vehicle is under control, even if that means a complete stop. If you can't avoid an impact, at least you scrub off enough speed to make it hurt less......if the guy had braked to a stop, (without correcting)the worst that would have happened would have been a fall into the weeds/grass. It's hard to keep that kind of presence of mind when something happens that quickly, though.
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Old 12-16-06, 05:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricardo
I don't have scientific evidence to support this but it is my impression that low speed crashes are more dangerous... Anyone else has thought of this?

Ricardo
More dangerous? probably not. More frequent? maybe.
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