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Old 04-23-07, 01:03 PM   #1
cgallagh
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Wildflowers and Bike Crashes

As Red Rider posted on 50plus, it was a great ride. We were weather challenged but we met the test. I now have 6 months and about 2100 miles of experience on a bike, 1900 on the tandem. This was the most challenging climbing I have done. We started at 7 am sharp and there were not so many bikes on the rode. Many waited for the weather to break. We figured it was a ride and what the heck. The Honey Run lived up to its' reputation. We were only passed by 5 bikes the whole way up and passed a bunch of half bikes. The descent would have been a lot faster but the skies opened up at the top and I had to ride the brakes for lack of vision and not wanting to die and all that. Table mountain was equally challenging. It is a beautiful ride and one that made us work hard. It all ended on a not so great note.

The old "watch out for car doors" thing came to life. At 93 miles, we started up from a green light (obeying all traffic rules downtown), traveled about 60 feet and some yahoo threw open his door. All time came slowed down as I heard the creek of the door, saw the door coming open, listened to the screaming voice in my head say dodge, dodge, dodge, the crunch of the break handle hitting the opening door, the whack of the tire swinging around and hitting door, the sound of two bodies and a tandem bouncing of a truck door and hitting the street.

As I assessed myself before moving I looked up to see several cyclists standing around and asking if we were okay. Red Rider was stilled clipped in the street side pedal and my leg hurt. After we figured out that there were no serious injuries we began to take stock of the situation. A local citizen also stopped and volunteered to assist us a witness. Turns out he is a local lawyer. He was very helpful, and wound up giving us a ride with our broken bike back to the finish. The guy that doored me was not apologetic and even felt it was my fault for riding my bike into his door. He did give me his information but I am not very optimistic of any redress although I will pursue it. Other than some pretty extensive bruising and road rash on Red and a pretty good lump on my left leg with minor bruising we are physically okay. The front wheel is ruined. I took the hit as I was turning away. The right front brake handle on my straight bar has red paint on it. There is no obvious stress marks on the bike and the forks are straight. I am a metallurgical inspector by profession and I did not see any thing that would indicate major structural damage although I took it to the LBS for a thorough go over this morning.

Some things that stand out about all this:

None of the cyclists that saw this happen right in front of them stayed around to give me their names or contact information as a witness to this. None of the cyclist offered any help with cell phones (we had one), offers to inform the ride coordinators at the finish line (we were only 3 miles away from the end) and ask them for SAG support, or any other assistance other than to stand around briefly and act like the Uh Oh Squad. You know the guys that stand around an accident and go "Uh Oh" then leave. The local citizen was a stand up guy.

The ride officials could not give me the number of the local police and there were no phone books available at the Fair Grounds. The ride officials did not know where their medic was and did not seem to be to greatly motivated to find him even though it was rumored he had a radio for contact. The gave us directions to the local 24hr emergency clinic and said we could drive over there.

They told me I could file a police report online, no problem. This was not true as the online service for that indicates you can only do that if you do not know the perpetrator. I called the police and made a report.

We asked them if they had some ice packs available and they got my wife a baggie with ice in it. Only one for her and both her knees were swollen. I did not get any ice for my injury.

I must have been tired or distracted because I normally look for people in parked cars and give them a wide berth. This was in downtown Chico and there was a lot of local traffic and bicycles on the road so I guess I stayed over on the right as we are supposed to be and got bit. I will never ride that close to a parked car again. I will ride in the middle of the street and cars will just have to deal with it.

Lessons learned include carrying a first aid kit on the bike, never riding that close to a parked car ever again, and not counting on the ride organizers for help if you get whacked.
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Old 04-23-07, 01:57 PM   #2
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That's a scary and shocking experience for both of you. It sounds as if both of you are essentially all right, but I know I would have expected better from the ride organisers. It's not a brand new ride, where things need to get ironed out, you know?

Heal quickly!

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Old 04-23-07, 02:33 PM   #3
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Wow, I am totally shocked by this. Usually, ride organizers will have the awareness to help out any riders that get injured. As a minimum, they should have contact information in case an emergency occurs. This is not good news, and I will be sure not to do any rides sponsored by Chico Velo.
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Old 04-23-07, 02:38 PM   #4
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That's why you gotta look through cars' back windows when you're running close like that, anything to give you early warning because you can't expect drivers to cut cyclists any slack. 'Hope your tandem is OK and you and Red Rider heal up quick. Take care.
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Old 04-23-07, 05:36 PM   #5
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That's why we're writing to express our concerns/opinions to CV -- this is a popular ride & we'd hate to see the organizers become complacent.

I'm willing to give them another chance...just not anytime soon.
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Old 04-23-07, 05:39 PM   #6
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I hope you both heal up quickly and get your bike fixed. Get a complete estimate and file a claim with his insurance company. The CVC mandates that drivers must be sure it's clear when they open their doors.
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Old 04-23-07, 05:39 PM   #7
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Scary is right! I've never fallen while moving before, on any of my bikes.

We, too, were surprised by how little the event coords. did to help us. We also didn't see much police support throughout the ride. Because the CW is a big, well-established event, we expected first-class treatment -- every other century we've ridden has treated us extremely well.

We'll see what they say after we send them a letter expressing our concerns/opinions.

Thanks for the good wishes.
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Old 04-23-07, 07:49 PM   #8
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We are glad you are okay. This is the type of thing that can happen to any of us and we are glad you are both okay. Speedy recovery to you both!
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Old 04-23-07, 09:23 PM   #9
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It's especially scary considering that when Sammilove and I went down for the Ride Around the Buttes we were astonished at how often we saw the CHP. In fact, if you look at this photo, you can see a CHP vehicle up the road:



Not to mention it seemed that the SAG wagons were there at least every twenty minutes or so.

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Old 04-23-07, 09:24 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear about your accident. I've done this ride the previous 3 years and always noted the lack of traffic control along the route, especially downtown, as a big concern. I'm kinda surprised that the organizers weren't better prepared regarding the accident though.

The one time I got hit, on Pleasants Valley Road 20 years ago, both my car insurance and the lady who hit me's insurance (totally my fault) were willing to pay to repair my bike. Be sure to report the jerk so it tags his insurance rates at the very least.
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Old 04-23-07, 09:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by East Hill
It's especially scary considering that when Sammilove and I went down for the Ride Around the Buttes we were astonished at how often we saw the CHP. In fact, if you look at this photo, you can see a CHP vehicle up the road:



Not to mention it seemed that the SAG wagons were there at least every twenty minutes or so.

East Hill
Some rides pay the overtime to have the CHP and Sheriff's Dept there, as well as some off duty paramedics. Tour of Napa Valley is WELL supported.
There will be some on the Tour De Cure in two weeks in Napa.

We don't have law enforcement coverage on our Primavera, but SAG wagons are always out there going back and forth between rest stops. After closing a rest stop, I drive the route slowly to the end, looking to help. Our route sheet had the phone numbers on it for the County Sheriff, and local police.
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Old 05-02-07, 06:09 PM   #12
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Got the tandem back from the LBS today. The only damage was a ruined front rim. They replaced the rim and rebuilt the wheel. I am taking it to work tomorrow and will xray the major joints and stress points for cracks but I do not see any surface evidence and given the way I hit the door there probably isn't. RR's bruises are nice and purple but are now fading. My leg turned pretty colors but the swelling is going down and it is returning to the color of skin now. I guess we escaped without a major problem and for that I am glad. As I said in the original post, I am usually so careful about parked cars but this time I let my attention slip. Never more. I will always be far enough away to not get bit by a door again. Thanks for all the positive thoughts out there. Hope to see you guys on the road.

Safe, fun and happy rides to all.
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