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After the Big Hit...safety and getting back on the bike

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After the Big Hit...safety and getting back on the bike

Old 12-22-23, 06:48 PM
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After the Big Hit...safety and getting back on the bike

Posted also on PL forum....
Six weeks ago my pelvis was shattered from getting hit by a cargo van (left hook, he was cited, and they DO cut your expensive bike clothes off in the ambulance). Yes we have excellent insurance & attorney. Yesterday my ortho doc released me to walk again. I've been doing PT and spin bike for over a month, so am better than being immobile for the duration. Fitness will come again but I still have a few physical issues to resolve before biking, still in PT. The problem is getting back on the bike, safety and mentally.

I'm 73, am (was) very fit, and have averaged 4,500 miles a year for the past 11 years. I ride alone, on mostly city/suburban roads, and don't race. I normally use flashing lights front and rear, and often two rear lights, plus a helmet (rear) light at times. I don't ride after dark. MIPS helmet for sure (saved my bacon this time). I ride in the bike lanes/paths when available, which is 60-70% of my routes, don't run stop lights, and watch out for idiots - assuming all vehicles want to kill me. Not sure what more I can do, other than carry a gallon of gas and light myself on fire for the attention.

Not trying to be a weenie, but I need help/advice:
1. How have others dealt with mentally getting back on the bike?
2. What safety related things have you done?

Your thoughts on:

- The mental aspect of getting out among the big moving things again.

- Lights, reflectors, radar, colored clothing, safety related behaviors, other?

Happy holidays, and guess what I am grateful for this Christmas!
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Old 12-22-23, 07:31 PM
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Location?
I'd use a radar w/t light & make sure you have reflective material down at the moving limbs area (ankle/feet area) .
Do you ride a road bicycle or recumbent?

Sometimes nothing will help if the location is naturally riddled with careless drivers.
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Old 12-22-23, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul
Location?
....Do you ride a road bicycle or recumbent?
Road bike. I was in a marked bike lane on the main road, guy came at me and left turned into me. I would have been dead on a low 'bent. He was cited for failure to yield.
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Old 12-23-23, 12:48 AM
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I was right-hooked about 2 years ago. Though, the car was stopped, for no apparent reason since there was not a stop sign, and I was passing on the right when it then turned without warning. They had passed me moments before, so should have been aware I was around and of course no signal they intended to turn. I assume they were trying to decide whether to turn or not turn.

I learned something from this. I.E, basically to never pass a car on the right. And also, if I'm thinking WTF is that car doing, assume it will do the worst possible thing. And my point about getting back in the saddle is, I took confidence from the fact that I learned, albeit the hard way, to avoid this in the future. Perhaps there is something you can learn from your experience. While it was clearly the drivers fault, perhaps there is something you could have done differently that you can employ in the future.

Of course, you can't protect yourself from all possible situations no matter how defensive you ride, but anything you can do different to give you a little more control may help your confidence to get back out there.

Also, it's a normal human response to be afraid of something after you were seriously injured doing it. I wonder if some counseling of some sort would help. Rather like getting help for PTSD.

As for safety gear. I were hi-viz jerseys and jackets. usually hi-viz socks. I use flashing front and rear daytime lights, like you, that are very bright.

Something my wife does is she waves at drivers. Just to get their attention. Like, "yoo-hoo, I'm over here, don't run me over." But heck, drivers run into other cars and trucks, so there's no 100% way to always be truly seen.
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Old 12-23-23, 06:15 AM
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I see cyclists here taking some, what would be for me, dangerous risks. One was coming down a steep decline yesterday and was on the double yellows as we passed. I've had enough incidents with dogs that I just have to live with it because the concern isn't going to go away. At least in the city most owners have them fenced in or on leases. As everyone knows, dogs abound in popularity. Since I live now in a bike friendly location, I feel safer on city back streets, but not on the busier ones. I do think the ebikes to be a plus and saw one rider on a busy street doing well a few weeks back. His up to speed was definitely better.
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Old 12-23-23, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Mtracer

I learned something from this. I.E, basically to never pass a car on the right. And also, if I'm thinking WTF is that car doing, assume it will do the worst possible thing. And my point about getting back in the saddle is, I took confidence from the fact that I learned, albeit the hard way, to avoid this in the future. Perhaps there is something you can learn from your experience. While it was clearly the drivers fault, perhaps there is something you could have done differently that you can employ in the future.
That's a great approach. To review the situation and ask yourself what you would do differently if you had to do it all over again. I suspect the OP could find things he would do differently if he had to do it all over again.
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Old 12-23-23, 08:59 AM
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AirZound airhorn. They'll almost always hear you. All my bikes have one. You pump it up with a bike pump.
https://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Bike-Horn-Bell-Adults/dp/B000ACAMJC

.Stops cars backing out of driveways and more:

Last edited by BobbyG; 12-23-23 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 12-23-23, 09:16 AM
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I am interested to know the mph of the road hit on? Also, was the turn a 90 degree turn for the perp (I was almost left hooked on a larger angle turn where the driver hardly slowed down in a 30 mph roadway)?

A left hook won't be fixed with a radar. Maybe ride on backroads of 30 mph or less, use airzound, additional caution at all intersections, as others mentioned.
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Old 12-23-23, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeLite
I am interested to know the mph of the road hit on? Also, was the turn a 90 degree turn for the perp (I was almost left hooked on a larger angle turn where the driver hardly slowed down in a 30 mph roadway)?
A left hook won't be fixed with a radar. Maybe ride on backroads of 30 mph or less, use airzound, additional caution at all intersections, as others mentioned.
Main road 45 mph, two car travel lanes plus center left turn lane, painted white lines bounded bike lane (next to travel lane) for me, plus parking lane on my side only. Right angle T intersection (small 2 lane road). My speed ~ 16 mph (I have my GPS data), his speed ???, I suspect fast.
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Old 12-23-23, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by NVFlinch
Posted also on PL forum....
Not trying to be a weenie, but I need help/advice:
1. How have others dealt with mentally getting back on the bike?
2. What safety related things have you done?

Your thoughts on:

- The mental aspect of getting out among the big moving things again.

- Lights, reflectors, radar, colored clothing, safety related behaviors, other?
I've been hit twice. It's normal to have flashbacks of the incident, and if they persist you might want to talk to a professional to find ways of diminishing them. As far as getting back on the bike, it's much like ripping off a bandage. Once you simply do it the bulk of the fear goes away. However, that doesn't mean you should immediately resume your normal distances, so don't fret if you need to build up incrementally. You'll likely find yourself checking your surroundings a lot more often, which is natural.

The only thing that can minimize the chances of a left/right hook is to take the lane. The fact that this van driver didn't plow into your rear means he saw you, but he completely misjudged his ability to safely overtake you and/or was too impatient to wait. No amount of lights, reflective gear, or radar devices would have changed that.
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Old 12-23-23, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas
...The fact that this van driver didn't plow into your rear means he saw you, but he completely misjudged his ability to safely overtake you
He turned left into me from the front.
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Old 12-23-23, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by NVFlinch
He turned left into me from the front.
Ah. FYI, a hook is when someone overtakes you first and then immediately turns in front of you.
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Old 12-23-23, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas
Ah. FYI, a hook is when someone overtakes you first and then immediately turns in front of you.
Er...no
"

Everything Cyclists Need to Know About Left-Hook Bicycle Accidents"

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/blog/everything-cyclists-need-to-know-about-left-hook-bicycle-accidents/ (NOT my attorney)
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Old 12-23-23, 10:45 AM
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It sounds to me like you're doing everything possible to be safe. We're close to the same age and I too ride a lot with lights, helmet, bright clothes and situational awareness. But there is just no accounting for idiots. Glad you're doing better. I've only been hit once and not seriously. The person never stopped to even check on me. I was shaken and it took a while before I could mingle with traffic again. I stuck to mups and alleys for awhile as I couldn't stay off the bike even though I couldn't get back out in the mix of things. It came with gradual encounters and now I don't even think about it. That was about 3 years ago.
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Old 12-23-23, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by NVFlinch
Er...no
"

Everything Cyclists Need to Know About Left-Hook Bicycle Accidents"

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/blog/everything-cyclists-need-to-know-about-left-hook-bicycle-accidents/ (NOT my attorney)
Your link describes what is known as a left cross. A left (or right) cross is when an oncoming vehicle makes a turn across your path. Conversely, think of what makes a hook shape. It's a straight line followed by a curve that goes around you. Hence why it "hooks" you.

https://www.selanderobrien.com/blog/...the-open-door/
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Old 12-23-23, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas
Ah. FYI, a hook is when someone overtakes you first and then immediately turns in front of you.
A right hook is, yes. A left hook? There is such a thing and I for one don't think it's worth it to split hairs over whether it is a left hook or left cross ... left hook works for me.
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Old 12-23-23, 03:19 PM
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I saw this post last night. I scrapped two or three lengthy replies before I decided to just sleep on it. I consulted my Stoker/Co-pilot about it this morning. Even after the new replies Mtracer still stands out as having the take closest to mine. Especially: "I learned something from this. I.E, basically to never pass a car on the right. And also, if I'm thinking WTF is that car doing, assume it will do the worst possible thing. And my point about getting back in the saddle is, I took confidence from the fact that I learned, albeit the hard way, to avoid this in the future. Perhaps there is something you can learn from your experience. While it was clearly the drivers fault, perhaps there is something you could have done differently that you can employ in the future".
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Old 12-23-23, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by NVFlinch
Posted also on PL forum....
Six weeks ago my pelvis was shattered from getting hit by a cargo van (left hook, he was cited, and they DO cut your expensive bike clothes off in the ambulance). Yes we have excellent insurance & attorney. Yesterday my ortho doc released me to walk again. I've been doing PT and spin bike for over a month, so am better than being immobile for the duration. Fitness will come again but I still have a few physical issues to resolve before biking, still in PT. The problem is getting back on the bike, safety and mentally.

I'm 73, am (was) very fit, and have averaged 4,500 miles a year for the past 11 years. I ride alone, on mostly city/suburban roads, and don't race. I normally use flashing lights front and rear, and often two rear lights, plus a helmet (rear) light at times. I don't ride after dark. MIPS helmet for sure (saved my bacon this time). I ride in the bike lanes/paths when available, which is 60-70% of my routes, don't run stop lights, and watch out for idiots - assuming all vehicles want to kill me. Not sure what more I can do, other than carry a gallon of gas and light myself on fire for the attention.

Not trying to be a weenie, but I need help/advice:
1. How have others dealt with mentally getting back on the bike?
2. What safety related things have you done?

Your thoughts on:

- The mental aspect of getting out among the big moving things again.

- Lights, reflectors, radar, colored clothing, safety related behaviors, other?

Happy holidays, and guess what I am grateful for this Christmas!
In my case, I have been in several accidents 1981(14), 1997(30), 2003(36), 2013(46), +2(?).

The consistent detail was, not 'taking the lane'.
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Old 12-23-23, 05:14 PM
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Exactly 1 year ago I took a very bad fall going downstairs I tripped and fell headfirst. I fractured my C2 vertebra and had a couple of flesh wounds. I spent 8 days in hospital and another 6 weeks before I could remove my cervical collar. But guess what? I was on the mend and I fell again down my basement steps. Another C2 fracture and more weeks of recuperation. I basically missed out on summer. For a Canadian, missing out on our wonderful summers is like being sent to purgatory.

However, I am optimistic. Last week I bought a fat bike
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Old 12-23-23, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
Exactly 1 year ago I took a very bad fall going downstairs I tripped and fell headfirst. < > I spent 8 days in hospital and another 6 weeks before I could remove my cervical collar. But guess what? I was on the mend and I fell again down my basement steps.

However, I am optimistic. Last week I bought a fat bike
I'd opt for pessimism in your case and stay off the basement stairs if I were you.

And why the heck didn't you spend the money you put on the FB to paying someone to renovate/upgrade basement stairs that tried to kill you twice??
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Old 12-23-23, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Chistophe516
In my case, I have been in several accidents 1981(14), 1997(30), 2003(36), 2013(46), +2(?).
Izzat your age those years? (Or the # of mishaps you'd suffered those years?)

Be it 4 (or 6) or 126, that's a heck of alotta 'accidents' my friend!

I'm surprised you can still key in posts here!
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Old 12-23-23, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
Exactly 1 year ago I took a very bad fall going downstairs I tripped and fell headfirst. I fractured my C2 vertebra and had a couple of flesh wounds. I spent 8 days in hospital and another 6 weeks before I could remove my cervical collar. But guess what? I was on the mend and I fell again down my basement steps. Another C2 fracture and more weeks of recuperation. I basically missed out on summer. For a Canadian, missing out on our wonderful summers is like being sent to purgatory.

However, I am optimistic. Last week I bought a fat bike
I'd a bought a new house-one without stairs! Glad you survived and are still optimistic.
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Old 12-23-23, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by spclark
Izzat your age those years? (Or the # of mishaps you'd suffered those years?)

Be it 4 (or 6) or 126, that's a heck of alotta 'accidents' my friend!

I'm surprised you can still key in posts here!
That was my age. The '+2(?)' is because of 2 accidents' between 2013 n' 2019. Where, 'taking the lane', wasn't the issue. I was rear-ended, while sitting at a red light in a dual-turn lane. That driver acknowledged his mistake. Replacing my rear wheel, cost him $120. The other one was in the same county.

The accident in 2003 was a hairline fracture from hitting a parked car. In a mall parking lot I had never been to before.

Last edited by Chistophe516; 12-30-23 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 12-23-23, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas
I've been hit twice ... ... ... The only thing that can minimize the chances of a left/right hook is to take the lane.
Originally Posted by Chistophe516
In my case, I have been in several accidents 1981(14), 1997(30), 2003(36), 2013(46), +2(?).

The consistent detail was, not 'taking the lane'.
Neither of you are making a great case for this taking the lane stuff. You both agree it can work, but, clearly neither of you do it? What's up with that? FWIW, from the p.o.v of someone that has never been hit, 'the lane' belongs to the motor vehicles. At best, cyclists are Resident Aliens in the traffic stream. Don't overstay your Visa, in other words. Use 'the lane' only when necessary.

I'm not understanding how being in the traffic lane protects you from a left turner. If you are over in the right gutter, you have additional microseconds of reaction time before contact, and so does the left turner. This is besides the fact that a cyclist is a traffic impediment on just about any road except a 'sharrow' marked for mixed use (car/bicycle) traffic. There would be no need for sharrows if it was legal for cyclists to hold the prevailing speed of traffic flow to what an average cyclist can muster (12mph).

Last edited by Leisesturm; 12-23-23 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 12-23-23, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Neither of you are making a great case for this taking the lane stuff. You both agree it can work, but, clearly neither of you do it? What's up with that.
I should clarify that my statement about being hit twice and suggesting to take the lane were not causally related (at least for me). I mentioned being hit because I have experience in overcoming the apprehension to mingle in traffic again, which was advice on the mental aspect of OP's situation.
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