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Thread: Broken Leg.

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    Broken Leg.

    Have ridden all types of bicycles and motorcycles since 1948. Thousands of miles logged. Ten minutes out on my new Linear LWB recumbent i broke my left leg. Sucked under the bicycle on a u turn when the speed went down to 5 mph and i put my left foot down to hold the recumbent up. 185lbs+ bike weight 40lbs+ twisting leg
    under frame at 5 mph = broken fibular near knee + torn ankel. Bike stopped on a dime and i was laying in the road with a broken leg.

    When i am able to ride again i do not think i want to chance another broken leg on the linear recumbent. I will probably ride my beach bike. All you recumbent riders be careful when putting your leg down, come to a complete stop!

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    sch
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    This is one of the things hard to warn against but familiar to 3 and 4wheeler riders
    who have the same problem with wheel suck. DF bikes are high enough that leg
    suck does not occur. It is a matter of luck with most riders that they do not get
    into this situation, or if they do put their leg down that it does not catch on the
    road and be overridden by the bike. Forewarned is forearmed, and you will probably
    never ever do it again, but that is little consolation to the loss of 6-9months off
    the bike. Another little mentioned aspect is the rapidity with which loss of traction
    by the wheel: wet road stripe, sand or gravel, mud on the road or slush, can take
    a bent down. A DF can occasionally recover as the center of gravity doesn't change
    so fast compared with a bent and when it does start sliding you have a chance of
    recovery not as available to bents. On the other hand when a low seated bent falls,
    if you keep hold of the bar with both hands and keep your feet clipped in a bent is
    a lot safer than an uprite to go down on. Thanks for the cautionary tale
    and hope you recover fully. Steve

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    sch
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    One other hazard to small wheel bents is uneven road edge, or edge dropoff with
    multiple pavings of asphalt. If you are at the edge of the road and inadvertently
    drop over the edge of the pavement 1-3" down, the front wheel will frequently make the jump back up to road level by turning the bar but the rear wheel can hang up and won't go up the rise and the result can be a rapid rotation of the bike CCW with the
    rear wheel hung up off the road braked by the friction as it stops turning. Loss of
    control and ending up with the bike stopped at right angles to the traffic can result.
    Steve

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    Senior Member ChiliDog's Avatar
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    WOW! I am so sorry this happened to you...hope you feel better soon!
    The bike for you is the one you will ride!

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    Now i understand more clearly how i broke my left leg. It is the sitting arrangement on the recumbent. When banking on a turn , or when falling over, and you extend your leg the angle of the leg plows into the cement and with rubber soled shoes the leg jamms and snapps like a stick! Naturally when in the sitting position it adds more force through the leg into the cement.

    When riding motorcycles on a dirt track the leg is stuck out, but the angle is more a 180 than a 45 degree, so the leg is not jammen straight into the ground, and there is hardly any stress on the leg.

    So i guess a full stop is the only option before letting a foot touch the ground on a recumbent. Scarey!

    But i love to ride them, but i am very reluctant to get on one again.

    How many other recumbent riders have hurt there legs?

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    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    You could try a recumbent trike, you clip in at the start of a ride and clip out at the end, and have a lot of fun in between.
    Sorry to hear about your leg. Several close calls on my df was one of the reasons I went with a trike.
    Greenspeed GLR trike
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    Senior Member royalflash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Ben
    Have ridden all types of bicycles and motorcycles since 1948. Thousands of miles logged. Ten minutes out on my new Linear LWB recumbent i broke my left leg. Sucked under the bicycle on a u turn when the speed went down to 5 mph and i put my left foot down to hold the recumbent up. 185lbs+ bike weight 40lbs+ twisting leg
    under frame at 5 mph = broken fibular near knee + torn ankel. Bike stopped on a dime and i was laying in the road with a broken leg.

    When i am able to ride again i do not think i want to chance another broken leg on the linear recumbent. I will probably ride my beach bike. All you recumbent riders be careful when putting your leg down, come to a complete stop!
    thanks for the warning and sorry to read about your painful accident- I remember reading about leg suck accidents on this forum with bents but I had no idea that they could happen so easily in the circumstances you describe. I will definitely watch out when I try a bent out. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope you are back in the saddle (bent or df) as soon as possible.

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    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    I have read these posts, and then went out on both my bicycles today. I ride to and from work on a Rans Stratus, and today at noon rode my Trek 1240 upright home for lunch. There are a few observations I'd like to make.

    --The term "leg suck" is probably a misnomer, at least in this situation. It appears that John Ben tried to put his foot down on the inside of a turn, and in effect ran over his leg. This caused the frame to impact his upper shin area, and the break to occur.

    --On my upright, I found that I always was at a complete stop when I placed my foot on the ground. I had to be, as I couldn't reach ground from a sitting position until I either leaned my bike over, or got off the seat. So "leg suck," or rather running over your leg with your bicycle probably cannot happen on an upright.

    I hope that John heals quickly, and also hope that he takes a better look at what happened, and how he can prevent it. It appears to me that the higher frame of the Linear bicycle could have contributed to this. My Rans Stratus has members that are lower, and a horizontal triangulation of tubes, that would help prevent this kind of injury. But I think the main contributing factor was not only putting his leg down while the bicycle was in the turn, but also putting it down close to the frame on the inside of the turn. Had he reached his leg out about 18 inches perpendicular to the frame, this injury probably also would not have happened. This is why I think the term "leg suck" is inappropriate to this injury; the leg is not "sucked" under the bicycle, but is placed in such a manner that it gets caught between the ground and the bicycle frame while in the turn.

    I had a friend who also owned a Linear recumbant, and he also suffered a fractured leg. So I know that it can happen, but again I think the design of this particular frame may allow the leg to get caught at this extreme mechanical disadvantage more than some other frames.

    John
    John Ratliff

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    'Bent Brian
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    Don't give up. If I had given up every time I wrecked on my DF bikes I wouldn't be having the fun I'm having today on my new 'bent. On the DF's I've gone over the bars, laid them down, and just plain fallen over countless times, resulting in stitches, contusions, torn ligaments, and cracked bones. The one thing I've never done on any bike including the recumbent is allowing my feet to hit the pavement while still moving if at all possible. It is all like the old adage about riding a horse, yes, I ride those too and have broken some bones as a result of falls. Does that stop me from riding and showing? No, I still ride and show.

    Figure out what you did wrong, then don't repeat that mistake. It may take some conditioning, and some training to overcome any bad habits.

    There was one time however when I did unclip and literally hit the ground running. I had just launched, crossed an intersection and had clicked up a gear. Speed was still pretty low. I was checking my mirror for traffic behind when I caught some gravel alongside the edge of the road (I was too close to the edge). There was no shoulder and a fairly steep ditch. I felt the rear wheel start to slide down into the ditch. I unclipped and stepped off of the bike as it literally dropped from beneath me. Since I was still holding onto the handelbars the bike didn't fall and I was able to keep it from gong completely into the ditch. I wheeled it back up onto the road, relaunched and was on my merry way. All other times that I've gone down while moving I've either stayed clipped in or just kept my feet off of the ground. Now go ride!

    'bent Brian

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    John C. I think what you said about the design of the Linear recumbent being higher and made of a single aluminium beam makes sense. The beam aligns with the middle of the leg, and when falling over in a turn the beam pushes on the leg in a fall. When i started to go over i powered on the pedals to get it upright as i have done this before. I saw the front wheel wash out and quickly put my leg down, and snap. I also had rubber sole shoes that day and they stuck to the road surface and did not slide. I rode with sandals before and they slid so i never jammed the frame into the leg.

    When i ride it again i will have to change the way i handle this type of recumbent. Slow and straight, and a shoe that slides. All said i trust the tried and true diamond frame, which was also known as the "safety", because the design was considered to be safer than other configurations." I still think the "safety" is safer, but alot depends on the rider. Some riders can ride any type of bike and never get hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bnet1
    On the DF's I've gone over the bars, laid them down, and just plain fallen over countless times, resulting in stitches, contusions, torn ligaments, and cracked bones. 'bent Brian
    Wow! That is alot of accidents and injuries for any bike.

    I have ridden countless road miles and double that on the mountain bike and I don't hold anything back. with that said, a little bit of road rash is the worst on the road and not much worse on the mtb. Again I'm not timid on my bike and all of the road miles are in and around the city so there are lots of things to deal with.

    Jeez I don't mean to be insulting but maybe you should get a trike.

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    'Bent Brian
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    Hey what can I say? The owner of a local bike shop named my buddy and I "Crash and Burn". My buddy wrecked as much (or more) than I did. Most of my falls were caused from unexpected gravel, pavment irregularities, etc and me not being that familiar with "skinny wheel bikes" at the time. Ah yes the young days! The most embarrassing "wreck" was just after i got my new 'bent. Went to launch at the end of the driveway. Had grit on my balance foot. As I went to bring the pedal up to the start position and take off my balance foot slid out fron under me, dumping me squarely on my butt! I slid under the bike somehow. Well at least the bike didn't get scratched!

    'bent Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by bnet1
    The owner of a local bike shop named my buddy and I "Crash and Burn".
    'bent Brian
    Haha lol, that is funny!

    The worst wreck I had was falling over at a standstill because I couldn't unclip. (very unique situation) I bruised a rib and could barely take a deep breath for about a month. And WHOA! watch out if I had to sneeze or cough.

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    TOYBOX----------- Not so unique. I did it too. After riding hard for an hour in the sun i stopped to get off, but my feet were in the cages. This was a Giant touring model and i had not been on it for several months as i became interested in in-line skating and skated every day for several months. I had several bruises on my arm as i fell over the curb and into a vacant lot. I am lucky that there was no broken glass or bottles in the weeds, as i went right over taking the bicycle with me.

  15. #15
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    John Ben,

    I got my Rans Stratus as a direct result of several crashes I had on diamond frames. I had three, two very serious, in the last seven years. They have been discussed in the "Advacacy" threads on this web site. Here's the situations:

    --I was going down a hill on my Trek 1420 at about 25 mph when I saw a light, and it was green, at an intersection at the bottom of the hill. I went through, and was going a good clip. I then looked down at my odometer, and when I looked up all I saw was the red side of an SUV. This was on a four-lane road, and I had been T-boned by the SUV. I crashed into it, pushing myself away from the vehicle (I was in the hooks), and falling at the same time. I skidded around the rear wheel, and received road rash and a very deep bruise on my left thigh. I probably hit the bike's top bar in my fall, which caused the leg injury. My bike suffered a ruined front fork, tire, etc. The car owner's insurance paid my medical and bicycle repairs.

    --Two years later, I was riding home on my Schwinn LeTour when I went to signal for a turn from the bike lane into the left lane. I was going downhill slightly, around a turn to the right in the road. The next thing I know, I'm on a hospital gurney in the ER about 12 miles away, having just come out from having an MRI. It is over 45 minutes later. My biking clothes had been cut off, and my helmet was in about a dozen pieces in a plastic bag. I was dizzy whenever I tried to sit up, or move my head. They kept me overnight for observation, and then released me. I was dizzy for the next several days, and it took about a month to get back to normal. I also had a huge hemotoma on my right thigh, which felt "dead." The nerves had been torn from my skin, and I had fluid under the skin. I had to have that area drained every week for a month, and then every two weeks, until three months later it finally had filled in with fibrous material. I am just now, two + years later, getting feeling completely through that area of my thigh. I reconstructed what happened to me, and determined that as I was looking back to my left, someone pulled out in front of me from my right. I apparently realized that, and tried to break, as I had a sprained left thumb. I may have actually touched my front wheel on the wheel/car in front of me, as I was violently thrown directly onto my head. Thank God I had a helmet on. My physician stated that without a helmet, had I been unlucky that day, I would have lived. My head hit first, followed by my right shoulder, arm, thigh and leg. My thigh really hit hard. My bicycle was undamaged except for torn handlebar tape. I was probably going about twelve mph. My insurance paid this one, as no one owned up to causing this accident, and I have no recallection of it at all.

    --I was riding a year later (it took three months for me to get back on a bike), and went on a bike path. I had looked at recumbant bicycles during my recovery, and tested several (including the Rans Stratus I eventually picked). I came to a wooden path over a marsh, and suddenly my front wheel was trapped. I, in slow motion as I was going only about 8 mph, went over the handlebars and dropped onto the pathway. I tucked my head just in time to avert a neck injury, a la Christopher Reeve. I got a new wheel from the City of Hillsboro, and they repaired the bike path so it could not happen again. The contractors had run parallel planks with a 1+ inch gap between the planks. The city used a machine to edge the wood, and put a metal strip between the planks.

    It was just after that accident that I bought the Rans Stratus. I feel that I have prevented at least two accidents by being on the recumbant, as on a recumbant I can see drivers and predict what they are doing; I also would not been in the accidents I had already experienced. Had I been on a recumbant, I would have noticed the driver turning in front of me earlier in the first accident, and I would have had a better mirror system and seen the driver coming at me from my right for the second accident. The third accident is not possible (going over the handlebars) when riding a long-wheelbase recumbant.

    The potential accidents I've prevented by being on a recumbant involved coming to an intersection on a major roadway, and seeing that the driver was not even looking in my direction as she turned in front of me. I was barely able to stop before she was in front of me, and it scared her too. Had I been on a diamond frame, I would have assumed that I had been seen (I was in bright clothing, with rear light blinking), and would not have been able to see the driver through the roof of her car. Another was a driver who looked right at me coming out of a coffee shop, but didn't see me as he held his coffee, talked on the cell phone, and drove into the road. I saw that he was on the cell phone, and on a diamond frame I would not have been looking as easily ahead.

    So John, my advise is to mend well, and get back on your Linear. Don't go back to a diamond frame, as in my mind they are much more hazardous than a recumbant. Realize the limitations, get clipless pedals, and enjoy the recumbant experience when you are well.

    John
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-02-04 at 12:17 AM.
    John Ratliff

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    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
    John Ben,

    Had I been on a diamond frame, I would have assumed that I had been seen (I was in bright clothing, with rear light blinking), and would not have been able to see the driver through the roof of her car.

    John
    I would NEVER ever make assumptions or take anything for granted while riding on the street. Way too risky.

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    Bikeman mtessmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Ben

    How many other recumbent riders have hurt there legs?
    Sorry to hear what happened to you. I've been riding recumbents for a little over 21 years averaging 4000-6000 miles a year and haven't had any problems. Take care and I hope for a quick recovery.

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    Bikeman---You make the case for getting back on and enjoying the sport of recumbent riding. When my leg heals i am going to enjoy and ride the Linear.

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    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    'Glad to hear this.

    John
    John Ratliff

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    A New Creation! Ritz's Avatar
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    John Ben, sorry to hear about your mishap. Hope you're all healed soon!
    "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the de@d , you will be saved." Romans 10:9 NIV

    VIVA LA PANTS!

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