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Old 06-05-03, 05:35 PM   #1
Crash
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To continue biking or not...

Let's see I've been road cycling for about 4 years now (primarily centuries) and I must say that it is the best sport I have ever taken an interest in. I think the best thing I like about cycling would be meeting the various people on the organized rides. I've never really been a social person, but cycling has opened me up to actually wanting to talk to something other then a computer. Unfortunately, I have a real decision to make. Last year I was in a fairly serious cycling accident. I was riding one of my favorite routes in Akron, OH and a car decided to turn left in front of me, we were both traveling at 20mph. I hit the side mirror of the car, crushing it with my knee, completed three full end-over-end rotations in the air (as seen by the witness) and hit the pavement. Oh, and I took the bike in the air with me until I hit the ground at which point my feet were pulled out of the cleats. Here is the amazing part, I didn't break a single bone. However, I did need several skin graphs on my leg and had to endure a few months of physical therapy in order to walk again. Here is my dilema, do I get back on the bike or do I call it quits. This is my reason for posting. Sure, the final decision is mine, but I'm looking for some help in making this decision. I've had plenty of support from my family and a ton from my friends. In fact, my dad wants to go and buy me a new bike (The frame on my Bianchi Eros bent at the top tube and down tube. The front wheel is now overlapping the down tube). The kicker is this. My wife and I just recently had our first child, a beautiful baby girl and she was only 6 weeks old at the time of the accident. The only thing I could think of while in the ambulance going to the hospital was that it could have been worse and I may have never had the opportunity to spend a lifetime with my daughter. I'm feeling pretty good these days and feel as though I "could" get back on the bike and make a full recovery. The thought of her will always be in my head when I ride and I wonder if it is worth the risk.
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Old 06-05-03, 05:48 PM   #2
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First of all, very sorry about the accident.... glad you have recovered. Whether or not you get back on the bike should depend on how comfortable you are with it, and are willing to risk the possibility of another accident. Sounds like you love the sport, so to me it would be worth it. We all assume some risk when we get on the bike. All we can do is try to be as safe as possible, including riding defensively in traffic. Occasionally an unavoidable tragedy like yours occurrs, which can be devastating. But it is also a tragedy to live in fear, especially when it stops you from doing what you love.

Good luck with your decision, your family, and your time at Bikeforums!
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Old 06-05-03, 05:50 PM   #3
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Wow, most people don't open themselves up like that. Of course, your priority is your family. I'd say get back on the bike. Start slow and see where it takes you.
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Old 06-05-03, 06:01 PM   #4
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Some musings and thoughts, not necessarily totally cogent. Hey, it has been a LONG day.!!

My wife and I have been in a couple of serious car crashes the past 2 years. My wife had some serious knee and back damage. It took her a year of PT to get back. But, we never thought of never driving a car again.

I guess I would examine what I wanted to get out of biking.

The research clearly shows that

1. More accidents occur on bike paths, BUT

2. More critical accidents and accidents causing deaths occur on the highway. In fact, about 90% of cycling deaths are attritutable to car/bike crashes.

However, given the above, biking is still a safe activity, compared to many other activities. I.e., we had about 13 skiiers killed in Colorado this year, and many more serious injuries.

My wife and I have chosen, given our circumstances, to take the higher risk of an accident on a bike path rather than the higher chance of death or critical injury riding on a roadway.

That does not mean I never ride on a roadway - I do ride on them. But, I am quite particular when, how and where I ride, and there are certain streets I will not go on.

So, I think you look at the risks, and figure out your action. Everything you do has risks. If you sit in the living room never venturing out, you have a sharply increased risk of obesity, strokes and heart problems, among others.

If you drive a car to the market, there is a definite risk. If you walk, there is a risk of falling or getting hit.

Personally, I would get back into biking. The potential benefits are far greater than the potential risks. I would do everything I could do to minimize a catastrophic injury, however.

And, there will be lots of disagreement with what I just wrote. So, read on for others viewpoints.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-05-03 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 06-05-03, 06:02 PM   #5
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danr said it right. Just be careful.
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Old 06-05-03, 06:13 PM   #6
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Honestly I would get back to cycling. How I would personaly come to this determination would be,
1. There is always risk of accident if it is walking down the street, driving down the street or riding a bicycle down the street. I was in a car accident with my 3 year old son a few years back and I continue to drive with him in the car.
2. I will be in better health because of cyclign so I will see my son grow up and marry have kids etc since I will live longer most likely.
3. It's great stress relief for me
4. It's soemthign I can enjoy with my son we go cycling together.
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Old 06-05-03, 06:51 PM   #7
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now i know its your choice but i say get back on your pony and ride, if for no other reason then to make sure you dont end up with some sort of fobia SP? that you could pass on to your kids. from my short experiance as a father kids can be very observent. they notice things that you dont even realizes that you do.
I believe i helped my daughter along with her skittishness to hights its the landing from falling that really bothers me and she has slowly changed from a climber who made me cringe more then once at where she had gotten into something up hi that she shouldnt to someone who cant even ride as she is afraid of falling off a little bike. do you know how much it makes you feel like a pathitic father when your 5 year old cant/wont try becouse she is to scared. and i know in my bones that its partly my fault
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Old 06-05-03, 07:14 PM   #8
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Complicated issue.

A lot, for me, would probably depend on several things. For example, while an accident can happen no matter what you are doing or how safe it basically is, how much risk did you feel there was on your normal rides? I mean, if you are normally in heavy traffic with little space for a bike, you may have always felt it was a bit risky. On the other hand, if you normally ride in lighter traffic with lots of room for a bike, you may rightfully feel it had little risk and you just had bad luck.

It might be good to gather info on general risks from biking vs other activities you might replace it with or which you already do. Just as an example, what are the relative risks of various injuries from driving vs biking. You might even be able to get details from the local police for the routes you drive / ride.

One other thing, which I see someone mentioned, is the health benefits of biking and whether you would be doing anything else to replace it. When I started riding 15 months ago, I was a couch potato. Since riding, I have dropped from 168 or so down to around 145 (pretty much my proper weight). Obviously more of that weight is muscle instead of fat too. Also, my resting heart rate used to be in the 80s usually. Now it is usually below 60 or even below 50 on occasion.

In my case, if I wasn't riding a bike, I would not have anything to replace it with. You see, when I ride, I'm typically GOING somewhere (I have no car), so I typically get 25 miles in 5 days a week. Sometimes more. But I have almost zero motivation to ride JUST to ride. That's just me, but it means there is no exercise that will take over for biking as well. This may or may not apply to you, but if it does, your health will suffer from not biking and this probably be more of a problem as you get older.

Bob
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Old 06-05-03, 07:17 PM   #9
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Get back on the bike and find routes that offer the least opportunity for an incident. I go to a lot of trouble driving propective routes to find quite and less troublesome rides to do.

There will always be risk but don't let fear make you afraid to live.
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Old 06-05-03, 07:47 PM   #10
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Just for you to consider.
Many motorcycle riders get rid of their bikes when they start a family life or have a baby born...
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Old 06-05-03, 07:58 PM   #11
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Crash, You'll never really know unless you give it a try. Does someone near you have a bike you could borrow or do you have a 2nd bike that you could take for a short spin?

Give it a try, but don't give up if it doesn't feel natural in the first few minutes of getting back in the saddle. Good luck!

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Old 06-05-03, 08:30 PM   #12
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If you enjoyed riding than please don't stop. I have had two bad cycling accidents. First one was head on, my fault I was going to fast and crossed center at a bad time, six weeks in the hospital, six weeks in a body cast. Second one was a freak accident and I ended up glancing off a truck and tumbling about twenty yards. But I love to ride, so I keep riding.
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Old 06-05-03, 08:36 PM   #13
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If you have to ask yourself, and us if you should ride again there is obviously a disire, concious or unconcious, to be out on the bike. I don't want to dwell on our mortality, but bad stuff could happen to us while we are doing a lot of things. You can't live your life in fear so get out there and start pedaling.

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Old 06-05-03, 08:44 PM   #14
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If you feel that more visibility would help, consider a H.I.D. light system for daytime use. The NiteRider Storm, combined with their powerful rear flasher, will definitely stack the odds in your favor, day or night. I highly recommend the NR taillight, but if you don't need one, the Light & Motion H.I.D. lights are getting good remarks too.

I was in a similar accident except that the car hit me from the side, instead of me hitting the car from the side, and I'm pretty sure that could've been prevented with a daytime-visible headlight. Last year, another motorist hit me as I was descending at 30mph, and again, it was a case of simply not being noticed. The "Whoa! What the heck is THAT " factor of the H.I.D. models, combined with their very high output for ~4 hours, puts them at the top of my wish list.
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Old 06-05-03, 08:51 PM   #15
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Wow, so many great reponses. This just proves my long standing belief that cyclists are the coolest people!! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my posting.

You all have very good points and much of the time I think I just need to be reminded of how beneficial cycling can be. Not just the physical side of it as several of you pointed out, but also how it affects others as well. "Mike in KS", excellent point. That really hit home with me. I want my daughter to ride a bike and I've had so much fun riding that I would hate for her not to experience the enjoyment of cycling. I think a little fear is a good thing in that it may help keep us aware of our surroundings, but too much fear can prevent us from even trying to venture out.

The points made about risk are good as well. I guess I just don't think about that 30 mile drive to Cleveland everyday, but you never know what's gonna happen and I have always driven more then I biked. Very interesting point. Finding less traveled routes is a good idea and I've tried doing that in the past. The accident did happen at 5:00 in the evening and even though it was a clear sunny day, there was probably more traffic then if I had postponed the ride to 7:00.
I think for now the thing to do would be to get back on the local bike path and see how it goes. I feel as though I will be uncomfortable on the road, so starting off slow can't hurt.

ZackJones: As far as having a second bike, well, it's a Gary Fisher mountain bike and although I have yet to "really go mountain biking", it works great on the bike paths. And hey, good luck with the MS150 pledges. I have done the ride four years in a row (Pedal To The Point), minus last year and probably this year. What a great ride for a great cause.

Thanks again to everyone who responded. I feel better about it already.

May the wind be at your backs.
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Old 06-05-03, 09:00 PM   #16
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Getting in an accident like that can cause some psychological setbacks. I think it's natural you're having second thoughts.

I got hit on my bike when I was in college waiting at a stop sign. I truck was turning and hit me headfirst. I don't remember getting hit- I just remember waking up laying on the ground and having to be restrained by other people when I tried to get up so I can make it to registration before I got shut out for next semester's classes. I didn't ride for years after that, and to this day, I don't even know what happened to my bike. I didn't ride for years afterwards.

I just got back into cycling a little over a year ago, and I wished I'd just mustered up the courage to get back into riding sooner. I really did love riding, and I don't regret getting back on the bike and starting all over again.

Take it slow and get back on the bike, and just start small- I bet if anything, you probably have an increased awareness of your surroundings, and this will make you more aware of cars and such around you that may be invading your personal space. Take advantage of that.

Good luck with all that.

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Old 06-05-03, 09:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Crash
May the wind be at your backs.
Hey, I prefer headwinds, buddy!

Personally you need to weigh up the pros and cons of the issue for yourself. The key issue is how much you get out of riding. The fact is that every activity carries risk (even being a couch potato), and cycling is actually a much safer activity than many people perceive it to be. In truth, you are probably more likely to be killed driving than cycling.

Having said that, if you feel nervous every time you ride, it mightn't be a particularly safe activity for you. Fear is good in certain quantities, but being excessively fearful is likely to have a negative impact on your safety levels. Basically, it's no good going out with the "I'm gonna die today" attitude.

I support what the others have said, start slowly and see how it feels. Build it up gradually, this should help you get your confidence back. Basically take your time and see if you rediscover the pleasure of riding.
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Old 06-05-03, 09:38 PM   #18
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Don't do it, you could get killed! Actually you are going to die at some point in the future, just like me and everyone else at this site. Unfortunately death is a fact of life.

How you live between now and that inevitable day is your choice and no-one else's.

Sure, riding can be dangerous, but no more dangerous than any other activity that we do in day to day life. I can understand your thoughts about being a father and the responsibilities that entails. However, we all assume that avoiding a dangerous activity will enable us to live a longer life. This is untrue. Hundreds of innocent people die from random events every day of the year, this is a part of life and it cannot be avoided.

Ride your bike, love your family, and enjoy the time you have. However long that may be.

CHEERS.

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Old 06-05-03, 09:45 PM   #19
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I really can't add much to this discussion but this: I came to the realization that I am mortal some time ago (I am 48) amidst many small and large tragedies. It sounds like you accident hammered home your own mortality, and being a new father, mortality is a frightening thing for you. Well, it's frightening for everyone. I treasure my time with my children, and I want it to last. Because of this, I must take care of myself, and I have chosen cycling as a way to do it. You should choose something you enjoy.
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Old 06-05-03, 10:53 PM   #20
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I read this thread with mixed emotions, only because after a couple really bad days (rain, wind, mechanical failures, etc) I have been feeling like giving up. But I love cycling, I love commuting, and centuries and having a debate every morning I get up as to which bike I will ride today.

Then I read the opener, boy... I know some of the fear of getting back at something. For me I got hit by a car while crossing the street. I was dashing trying to make the light, and stepped into on coming traffic. They didn't see me and I didn't see them. When I stopped flying I was in the middle of an intersection with massive trama to my right leg, and a dislocated hip.

It took me some time before I was ever comfortable crossing the street. It was incredibly stupid, at least I thought, so I worked at facing the fear to cross the street.
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Old 06-05-03, 11:03 PM   #21
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A bad accident can really put a damper on things, I recently got into mountain bikeing about month ago. My brother has had a mtb for about a year and rides a bit, so I figured we could go together. First chance we got last weekend gost postpoend due to him working late and me missing his call. Then on sunday he crashed badly, broke bone below his eye and his scapula if that is not bad enough when he went to the hospital they did a cat scan and found somethign in his brain, still not sure if cancerous yet will have to wait and see. I thought he might give up riding after that, but when I joked about not going riding this weekend he said, will have to wait 3-4 weeks till his shoulder heals. And made plans with me to go right after his vacation mid next month.
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Old 06-06-03, 01:12 AM   #22
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With all the great advice about the emotional, personal perspective don't forget about the material. If it's possible make sure the families income stream is protected, any debts can be cleared up and assets clearly redistributed in the event of an untimely incapacitation or death.

My advice might not make you feel any better but it certainly means you've done your best for everyone concerned in the event some kind of freak accident or unexpected illness occurs.

Make appropriate preparations and live your life happily :fun: and lovingly . Despite those multi-vitamins, royal jelly and cod liver oil you are mortal.

I think cycling fits into 'happily', 'lovingly' and 'safe'.

Your choice.
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Old 06-06-03, 01:30 AM   #23
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I had a bad motorbike crash 5 years ago, and I got back on, but subsequently recently sold the bike because I wasn't getting the same enjoyment out of it.and, although my wife said she didn't mind, she was obviously less keen on me biking after the smash.

I did consider the family thing at the time but, biking made me happy so decided to continue, at least for a while.

My wife had a bad cycle crash last year and that made me think about cycling, but the love of it is too much. The way I look at it, if you minimise risk by good observation etc, the risk is lessened. A lot of the statistics relate to cyclists who don't ride much and have no road sense.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 06-06-03, 04:55 AM   #24
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With all the great advice about the emotional, personal perspective don't forget about the material. If it's possible make sure the families income stream is protected, any debts can be cleared up and assets clearly redistributed in the event of an untimely incapacitation or death.
I think that's something that should be done if possible regardless of the decision to ride or not. After all, there are far more dangerous activities that we all participate in every day than cycling.
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Old 06-06-03, 05:06 AM   #25
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I never advise people to ride or stop riding, that is a personal decision. In my case, I continue to ride.
I had a car hit me. I was certain they had seen me because of my bright colours and assertive road position. My bad luck. I didnt have any serious injuries but was really shaken up. Im not sure my helmet prevented any injuries, but my gloves were shreded.
Now I ride a bit more cautiously, I assume that every car is going to cream me and am really wary of becoming hidden from view behind the winscreen pillars of a car. Im not timid when I ride, but ensure eye contact.

BTW did you claim for your injuries and busted bike from the driver. If he was in the wrong, he pays. If he pays, he will remember to pay attention next time.
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