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my first serious crash

Old 10-21-03, 08:46 PM
  #1  
Cirrus
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my first serious crash

I've been riding regularly for the past 18 months and had my first serious crash today (I'm not counting the embarrasing slow motion "why can't I unclip" at the traffic light crashes!)

A group of four of us was out doing our regular lunchtime ride. We'd slowed down (in hindsight, not enough) to follow the bike path under an overpass with a blind corner. The underpass has a concrete wall on the right and rocks and the river on the left. It's been raining steadily in Seattle for the past 2 days, so the path was wet. I was number 3 in the group about 1.5 bike lengths from the person immediately in front. At the worst possible point (from a visability standpoint) in the underpass there was an oncoming cyclist ... on the wrong side of the bike path. The first two in my group managed to avoid the collision, however the oncoming cyclist then locked up his wheel and fishedtailed into my path. I braked heavily, also fishtailing, would have avoided the collision except for cyclist number four who had even less time to react, fell, and slid into myself and the oncoming cyclist.

Net result: Oncoming cyclist; unknown, picked himself up, hung around briefly then continued on.
Cyclist Four: Broken collar bone, abrasions, carted away in an ambulance.
Myself: Couple of broken ribs, abrasions and a helmet for the rubbish bin!

Lessons learned: I've ridden this path nearly every work day for the past 18 months, I knew it was a blind corner, I knew there was no "escape routes". I did not slow down enough, or leave enough clearance between myself and the bike infront. However, what on earth was the oncoming cyclist thinking? I've seen him on the path previously so he should KNOW of the blind corner.

My bike's off to the shop in the next couple of days to access the extent of the damage, which is not too serious, I hope. It'll probably be fixed before my ribs are!
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Old 10-21-03, 08:53 PM
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Ouch! A combination of a bad spot on a bike path and an idiot going the wrong way. This is something I fear all the time. Lucky it was your helmet and not your head that's good for the rubbish bin, and at least no one had injuiries that won't heal. Hope the bikes are okay!
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Old 10-21-03, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus
Net result: Oncoming cyclist; unknown, picked himself up, hung around briefly then continued on.
You didn't get his details? Just because it's a bike path it doesn't mean the rules of the road don't apply, and that non compliance with them doesn't carry a penalty.

In any collision involving injury you should call the police (the ambulance driver should at least have known this) and all parties involved need to stay put until they arrive.

You can blame yourself for not slowing down more if you wish, but the wrong way cyclist was 100% at fault by my reckoning, and you let him get away with it.
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Old 10-21-03, 09:07 PM
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yep, you're probably right, but I was a little preoccupied with the difficulty I was having with breathing at that point!
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Old 10-21-03, 09:07 PM
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Chris L
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Originally Posted by Allister
You can blame yourself for not slowing down more if you wish, but the wrong way cyclist was 100% at fault by my reckoning, and you let him get away with it.
The wrong way cyclist also appears to be guilty of leaving the scene of an accident. I agree with Allister, it's a good idea to jot down some details. If you see him quite regularly on that path, take down a description first chance you get and take it to the police.
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Old 10-21-03, 09:14 PM
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OUCH! That had to hurt. Which trail were you riding?
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Old 10-21-03, 09:19 PM
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Cirrus
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The Green river trail. The accident happened in the underpass at 180th in Tukwila.
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Old 10-21-03, 10:48 PM
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I'm with Allister on the wrong way cyclist: At fault in the first place, doubly at fault for leaving the scene. Hope you and your friend with the broken collar bone heal quiclkly and aren't in too much pain; the bikes can always be replaced...
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Old 10-22-03, 11:11 AM
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I fear the bike trails (errant cyclists and darty pedestrians) more than the 4 lane arterial roads that I ride on for most of my daily commute. I usually only ride on the Lake Ontarion bike trail on the way in (at 6:00 am) or in rotten weather when it is deserted. It seems that some people who seem to follow rules of the road when riding on the street seem to throw the rules to the wind on the bike trails.

Hope you and your bike recover soon, Cirrus!
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Old 10-22-03, 11:20 AM
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Hope you heal up quick. I'd advise getting a bell for those blind spots. I use one on the mtb trails and it works perfect for blind corners and passing.
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Old 10-22-03, 01:12 PM
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how fast was the wrong way rider going?

never assume riders know what they are doing. even if you see them all the time on the same path.
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Old 10-22-03, 07:20 PM
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Best wishes for a quick clavicle mend. Been there ... done that.
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Old 10-23-03, 06:29 AM
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Cirrus,

Heal quickly! You're a good man.

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