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Crash While Commuting? Tell us about it!

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Crash While Commuting? Tell us about it!

Old 10-13-11, 11:04 AM
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Geeeyejo
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Crash While Commuting? Tell us about it!

Well I guess it was bound to happen... Heading to work today at about 6:45AM- just stopped raining and starting the last 3 1/2 mile leg of my daily intermodal commute. I am about 3 blocks from the ferry and headed down a very wide sidewalk area bordering Battery Park in Manhattan - just near the point where I access the streets. I realize that I did not have my rear blinker on and reached back to hit the switch - I hit an irregular patch of sidewalk cruising at about 15mph and I guess the combination of wet streets, my reaching back and 16" high pressure tires (on my folder) and the bike just slipped out from under me... I go down to my left - HARD and land on both palms, left forearm and left knee. The last time I put down a bike - I believe I was 16 years old and 140 lbs- at 50, weighing nearly 220lbs and with a 25 lb pack it definately was a bigger impact.
I got right up - fortunately no broken bones - got back on the bike and made it too work - figured I better "ride it off". Assessed the damage when I arrived - sustained a pretty good friction burn/scrape on the forearm - that was the only sign of blood - left knee and both palms pretty sore but no major cuts/scrapes. As for my bike - the end of the left pedal was literally covered in concrete dust from scraping the sidewalk - my poor Brooks B67 sustained it's first scrape as well - not too bad though- about a 1/2 inch abrasion on the rear left. I popped 600 mg of Advil to ward off any inflamation but sure I will be feeling it tomorrow AM.
Lesson learned - respect the road, pay attention - especially in bad weather - guess I am lucky it could have been far worse if it had happened on a busy street and I planted in front of a car! Be careful my fellow bike commuters!
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Old 10-13-11, 11:13 AM
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my crashes over the past several years (in order of severity):

  • got hit by a bus that blew a stop sign - minor fractures, deep cuts, and bruises, bike totaled
  • went down on a patch of ice - i was riding with studded tires, but still went down (they were over-inflated), messed up my wrist, was off the bike for several weeks
  • got cut off and run into the curb by an a-hole cab driver - big gash in my chin, minor road rash, bike ok
  • hit a racoon late at night - kinda rolled with the fall, minor road rash and bruises, big scratch on the bike frame
  • collided with no-look u-turn jogger on MUP - fortunately fell into a deep snow bank, body and bike all good

Last edited by Steely Dan; 10-13-11 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 10-13-11, 01:32 PM
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My first accident was in my first month of bike commuting. I was riding in the bike lane on sixth avenue and a tourist doored me with their cab. I landed hard on my left knee. The woman never apologized and the cab driver was yelling at her that he told her to look before opening the door, and then explained to me that more women do this than men. I sat on the curb trying to take stock of my injuries, and put the chain back on my bike and when I look up the woman is walking away. My knee was tender but healed fully in about three weeks.

About a month after my first accident I was riding towards the fifty ninth street bridge at about 6:30 a.m., there was a thin layer of wet snow on the ground and it was december so it was dark out. I was approaching an intersection all of my lights flashing and I notice a woman crossing the intersection. There was plenty of time for her to complete crossing the street if she kept her initial pace so I wasn't immediately concerned. As I neared her it became apparent to me that she had not yet noticed me, so I called out or whistled to try to get her attention, still she doesn't acknowledge me. At this point I resigned myself to the idea that I was going to have to edge around her from behind and I only had to deviate slightly from my path to do so. Just as I am about to pass her she sees me and panics. She steps one way, then the other, meanwhile I still had room to get past, so I held my path. But as I am passing her, her final fight our flight instinct kicked in and she stepped away from me, but when she did she shot out her arms effectively throwing me to the ground at at least fifteen mph, re injuring the same knee that had just recently finished healing. As I sat there silently asking the powers that be, "WHY!?", I find the girl standing over me pointing at her ear saying, "I'm deaf!", in the unmistakable deaf person voice. She was young and in my opinion probably not fit to be out on her own crossing busy streets in the dark. This time the pain was much worse but rather than turn back or call into work I rode over the bridge and the rest of the way into work in significant pain. Popped ibuprofen and did my days work riding home in an equal amount of pain. The pain persisted through the night and I was unable to sleep. The next day the doctor x rays the knee and says it's not a bone injury. I waved off an mri and walked with a brace and cane for the rest of the week. I also didn't ride for a couple of weeks. I was so shaken by this accident I bought heavy knee guards which I wore for months afterwards.

So far in 2011, no accidents. Hopefully I can keep it that way....

Last edited by BridgeNotTunnel; 10-13-11 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 10-13-11, 02:03 PM
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Aside from the obvious stupidity of not paying full attention to the road in front of me, I feel the small wheels on my folding bike really contributed to this fall. Although the bike is super maneuverable and nimble in traffic - the wheels do amplify any movement of the bars and the smaller tires are less forgiving of potholes and any pavement irregularities. As much as I appreciate the convenience of the folder on the train part of my commute - I can (and have in the past) taken a full sized bike on the train for my commute. Both my Gary Fisher and Iron Horse are bullet proof commuters and fit pretty easily in the trunk of my car (albeit with the rear seat down) Might be more prudent on foul weather days and certainly something to consider with more bad weather and winter coming...
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Old 10-13-11, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
  • hit a racoon late at night - kinda rolled with the fall, minor road rash and bruises, big scratch on the bike frame
I got hit - in the face! - by a flying bird one night. Managed to stay on the bike, though, luckily, although it started the crap out of me. ( I wasn't commuting at the time, but your story reminded me... )
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Old 10-13-11, 02:59 PM
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In order of occurrence:

Autumn 2009: Hit a low concrete barrier riding in the dark with insufficient lighting. Attempted an emergency bunny-hop, but didn't get the rear wheel over. Launched me through the air like Superman, was lucky enough to land on grass. Minor cuts and scrapes, sore neck, bent rear wheel.

Winter 2009: Slipped on some ice going very slowly downhill (with studded tires). No damage to me or the bike.

Summer 2010: Turning into my driveway, tire slipped off the edge of the concrete, bike went out from underneath me. No injuries to me. Bar tape came dislodged and had to be re-wrapped.

Spring 2011: Slipped on some ice going very slowly downhill (with studded tires). Wrenched my knee, which was sore for a week. No damage to the bike.

Summer 2011: Fell while at a standstill because I forgot to unclip. No damage to the bike. Bruised ego.

Fall 2011: T-Boned a car that made an unsafe left turn across my path. Bike totaled. Fractured (crushed) wrist, fractured elbow, bruising and lacerations to shoulder and chest, deep gash in my chin, lots of muscle soreness. Still healing from this one.
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Old 10-13-11, 03:09 PM
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Surrealdeal
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Originally Posted by groovestew View Post
Summer 2011: Fell while at a standstill because I forgot to unclip. No damage to the bike. Bruised ego.
If that counts then I went down once this summer fumbling for a crosswalk button & lost my balance.
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Old 10-13-11, 03:14 PM
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I have fallen once or twice by forgetting to unclip, and I also undertook a car just as it was about to move off (traffic in front had started moving) and the driver didn't look and clipped my rear wheel and I went down. Slight pain in knee / hand but nothing major, although the mount for my air zound broke was 50:50 in terms of fault he should have looked, I shouldn't have done it. Learnt from that!

Stay safe out there.
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Old 10-13-11, 05:36 PM
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yarb
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In order of occurrence since December '09:

- slipped on small ice patch while accelerating, minor bruises, front shifter a bit bent

- same day, on way home - struck from behind by a car gunning for an amber, bike and windshield destroyed, just bruises and sore ankle for me

- clipless fall leaving work, hairline fracture of left elbow, bike OK

- took a right too fast and slipped on wet leaves, hairline fracture of right elbow, bike OK

- tried to hop a curb while drunk, road rash on shoulder, front derailer knocked out of whack

- clipless fall while showing my daughter how to ride, bleeding leg and major embarrassment
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Old 10-16-11, 07:46 AM
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Let's see:
1. I got doored in Forest Park, St. Louis. I was headed downhill at a pretty good clip, with fairly heavy traffic, so I was riding too close to the parked cars.
BANG!
I was on a mountain bike with bar extensions, and the edge of her door caught the bike just inside of my right hand. The bar was bent at a right angle, and absorbed a lot of the impact. If it had hit my hand, I'm sure it would have shattered every bone in it. The first part of me to hit the car was my bicep, then shoulder, then ribs. I didn't know the law at the time, so thought I was liable. So I just told her I was fine, and rode to work (a hospital) where my boss took one look at me and sent me to the ER.
Next day I left for a 9 day tour across the state.
2. 4 way intersection. I waited for a green light, then crossed with traffic. The two cars to my left opened a tiny gap between them, and some 4$$hole making a left floored it to cut between them. I yelled, I accelerated to get out of his way, but he still hit me. I jumped up on his hood at the last second, smashing his windshield and denting his hood. No damage to me, bike had stem twisted around but nothing else. I stood on his hood and yelled at him till the police came. It was awesome.
3. Headed home from school. heavy books, laptop, etc. on the rear rack. I noticed a lifted section of sidewalk at the last second. Got the front wheel up, and threw my weight forward to unweight the rear, but the stuff on the rear rack held it down, and the rear wheel smashed right into the edge. WOBBLE WOBBLE WOBBLE.
4. Next day, on my road bike, headed to school, and some guy cuts me off at a two way stop. I locked up the brakes, did a stoppy, and slowly toppled over while trying to unclip. Broke the right hand support of my cheap rack, and had to fix it with a stick and bungee cord.
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Old 10-16-11, 07:59 AM
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errr... mines all minor compared to all of yours...
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Old 10-16-11, 10:13 AM
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2010, was riding with a buddy of mine around the lakes in MPLS. We were on the biking side of the path ( where we were suppost to be) and this runner just decided to enter on the path running the "wrong way" towards us. My friend and I were clipping along pretty good pace and there were another group of guys ridding directly behind us. -- I called out to her, but she didn't hear me because of her head phones. SoooOOOo, I had to make an executive decision: Lock up my brakes and have a "Dog pile" -OR- take the "road less traveled by" off into the shrubbery.

Obliviously, I took the road less traveled by and took the brunt of it on my left knee and hands. -- When I got up, I turned around to see it the runner had realized what she had done, and was COMPLETELY oblivious...and she just kept on running. -- I was bloody, frustrated, and felt like an idiot but found a little redemption in knowing that I, "took one for the team"...I could have been a lot worse if we had a pile up! Note to self: slow down a little on those urban trails cuz ya never know what kinda YAHOO will do something unexpected! Ya live, ya learn!!!

Last edited by 3 circles; 10-16-11 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 10-16-11, 11:15 AM
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Oh yeah one more EMBARRASSING one: " Breaking in my clips on a first date"

I'm not sure what I was thinking but I guy I was kinda interested at the time asked if I wanted to go for a ride....so knowing myself and that I don't usually turn down an opportunity to ride I said, "yes". However there was one minor thing: I had just switched out my pedals and was just breaking in clips for the first time. DUN DUN DUN Dunnnnnnnnnnn!

I told him I would go but that I was breaking in clips for the first time and that i would probably get "dumped" multiple times.-- He didn't really understand what I was talking about( at the time he rode a MTB with baskets), but he said he was cool with it. So we headed out on the green way and I did fine for about 5 miles then we approached a stop and sure enough I forgot to clip out, and "BAM"!!! I imagined it looked much like a stiff animal that was being tipped over in a state of peaceful sleep.

I got back on with a minor gash to the elbow, and we cycled on.... made in about another 10 miles until I tipped over again. But the final clincher was when we headed into the sculpture garden up a grassy-rocky landscaped hill which wasn't really the ideal terrain for my bike to begin with, then upon reaching the top while messing around trying to switch gears we came to an immediate stop at a BUSY intersection!! Yup, you called it, I got my a** handed to me... It was totally embarrassing but when we arrived at the top everything happened so quickly I didn't have time to clip out and I got completely dumped unto the shoulder of the street. I musta fell hard because I tried for the life of me to unclip but I couldn't break my cleat free from my clip. I WAS STUCK on my bike laying in the street!! (I felt like the old lady on the:" HELP, I've fallen and I can't get up infomercial" --( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jdh3OusFF-k -fast fwd to sec 24) So, he had to hop off his bike and lift me AND my bike up cuz I couldn't clip out! It was awesome.... one of my prouder moments!! The next day I woke up with a HUGE bruise on my thigh the size of a grapefruit!!

Last edited by 3 circles; 10-16-11 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 10-16-11, 11:23 AM
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I fell on the first snowfall a couple of years ago. Messed up my rotator cuff, which took over a year to figure out because it was minor enough that I didn't ask the doctor about it. It did get me out of the habit of swimming though.
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Old 10-16-11, 11:30 AM
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1) Front wheel slipped on some gravel left by MenAtWork on the bicycle lane. I was turning sharp right, going into sunset so didn't see the gravel from being sunblind. In a split of a second I was on the ground, didn't know what happened. Marshal arts falls are good when they become instinctive and that saved me from any injury. Just broken rear derailleur, so installed a crash protector on it afterwards.

2) Hit by a car on a bicycle lane on a green light. Car was turning right and was supposed to give right of way. I was approaching real slow, walking pace and was sure he saw me. Sun was shining off his windshield so I couldn't actually see where he was looking.

Just as I passed, he turned towards me and slammed the throttle. Like he was deliberately going to run me over. Managed to just turn so it hit the rear part of my bike. Bike and I flew a few meters away. Rear rack took a big dent, wheels got a bit misaligned, but no damage. 12 e repair bill for re tensioning the spokes. I just got a few bruises.

Man stopped and got out of the car completely amazed. Didn't see me. 2 small kids in the car all scared. I said I'm all fine, no need to worry. Asked him for number to send him repair bill. Met him a few days later to collect money. He said we were both lucky nothing bad happened. It is a very small chance that if you hit a biker, you hit one wearing full motorcycle protective gear (I was on my way home from the garage) and knows how to fall.
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Old 10-16-11, 05:01 PM
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3 crashes, all in 2009-2010.
1. autumn leaves on the path, coming off a MUP bridge onto a curve, needed to temporarily widen my line for an oncoming cyclist not previously seen due to the curve; when I tried to regain my line to stay on the path, not enough traction with the leaves underneath and down she went. Messed up a brake lever a little (no big deal to repair) and bruised some ribs.
2. Open road, no shoulder, strong crosswinds with gusts up to 50mph; a strong gust blew my front wheel right off the pavement and when I tried to straighten out and get back on the pavement the tire dug in instead of riding up the ledge. Speed was very slow so no damage except torn up bar tape.
3. Coming off another MUP bridge onto a curve, damp concrete surface, front wheel started to slide sideways and I couldn't save it. Came down hard on my hip, big bruise for a few weeks. No noticeable damage to the bike. Since then I noticed that the particular type of concrete used is rather more slippery than expected, even when dry, and I've taken it easy in the curves on this concrete after that. It has a very smooth, marble-like surface.

A common element of all three is that there was no appreciable interval between smooth sailing and impending crash - once loss of control was initiated it was too late to regain. Another common element that probably doesn't mean anything is that each crash was on the left side of the bike. All solo crashes too, I guess that's a good thing; though I had some help with the first one.
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Old 10-16-11, 06:40 PM
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My most interesting crash happened a couple of years ago. I was turning right at an intersection that I have always used. All of a sudden, the next thing I know is bang, I down on my right side. I get up shocked but with only minor road rash on my elbow, knee and scrapes on my right brifter and pedal. I arrived to work a mile later and I sure felt the shock effects of the crash.

I couldn't figure out how I went down. Was I going too fast? I don't think so. On the way home, I looked at the crash corner for oil, water, debris or anything else that could have caused the crash but found nothing.

To this day, I slow way down while turning right at that corner.
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Old 10-17-11, 09:04 AM
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only 1 commuting crash

Coming down short steep hill and car coming towards me takes left into Fed school for wayward kids. I swerve hard and just miss the front bumper and manage to duck the tree branch as I fly into the field..deep grass, couple of minor scratches . When I get up the car is pulling past the guard shack into work. I try to get by the guard shack to give the driver a few words but they won't let me pass. I should have called the cops for leaving the scene of an accident.

My worst wasn't during a commute. I was just getting into riding around 1996, maybe my third ride. I went out for a friday after work ride, the last thing I remember was starting to jump a dip in the road, just a bit of torn up pavement. I woke up on the side of the road. I had jumped out of the front wheel, bike forks all bent. Broke my back in 3 places, injured shoulder, wrist operation (still hurts). First time I ever wore a helmet, smashed it to bits (saved my life). Kids (oldest about 5) had been playing in the garage and loosened the front wheel quick release, wife didn't know how to fix and wasn't home when I got home and went for the ride. It was an older bike with just a single lever release.
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Old 10-17-11, 10:07 AM
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In last year, two crashes after having none for a long time:

Slipped on a wet boardwalk under the TR Bridge. Had to turn sharper than normal to avoid another bike commuter who had gone down just before me, and was checking out his bike right in the middle of the boardwalk! Partly my fault for not slowing down even more, but I did give the guy a WTF look for contributing to my fall, especially since he knew how slippery it was. Minor scrapes and bruises; no bike damage.

Went down avoiding another bike commuter who did not yield the ROW and drifted in front of me. He had the red light, but didn't stop to let me pass, so I had to swerve to avoid collision. After making it past, my handlebar clipped a box attached to a pole that I didn't see until too late. Again, partly my fault for not slamming on the brakes to avoid the other bike, but you'd think bike commuters would respect the rights of other bike commuters. I'd hate to see the guy behind the wheel of a car. Minor bruise or two; no bike damage.
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Old 10-17-11, 10:38 AM
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This year

1. Scrape from failing to clip out in time
2. Crashed on my road bike going downhill in the wet on a painted stripe on the MUP, on 700x23 slicks. Front tire punctured. Needed a new helmet and 4-6 weeks off the bike (fracture in elbow, chip in wrist).

Since then I only take my road bike in good conditions and most days I prefer my MTB for more peace of mind when locking it up. I also ride a LOT slower in that particular patch of the MUP, and a lot more sensibly in general, I (like to) think.

In 2005 I crashed on my flat-bar 700x25 commuter when I misjudged a right turn around a chainlink construction fence. I basically turned into it too much and clipped it which sent me sprawling the other way. No damage done though.

I don't recall any other commuting crashes.
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Old 10-17-11, 10:47 AM
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Second attempt at commuting back in 2008, too scared to ride on the road so I was on the sidewalk, one pad of sidewalk missing which was never a problem in the afternoon, but after the sprinklers had just shut off in the morning the ground was very spongy. My front wheel sunk in and then hit where the sidewalk started again and I was catapulted over the handlebars in a classic face plant. Landed on my chin and helmet. Minor scratches, cracked the helmet. Ruined the bike.
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Old 10-17-11, 10:56 AM
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All my crashes have been due to a lapse in handling skills and/or judgement (forgetting to clip out while stopped), so I can't really complain. None have been very serious. Just a little bit of road rash and back on the bike.
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Old 10-17-11, 11:17 AM
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Having commuted 8000 miles since starting this commuting odyssey. I have had 2 major accidents and a few minor slips and club tombe episodes.

The major incidents required hospitalization.

First one I was blown off the bike by driver too close at speed. Nothing broken but was concussed. Over night stay for observation. no lasting issues there.

Second event was a 10 day all expense paid vacation at trauma unit. Well almost all expenses paid. broken ribs, collarbone, collapsed lung, concussion. That one happened back in Feb. 2011. I am still recuperating. riding but still have issues with my shoulder. It was hit hard. No memory of what caused problem. I think it is likely someone clipped me on exit from campus but no one stayed around and reported that.

I am back on bike doing my commute. Before accident was 5 day/week rider. Now am getting up to 3 days/week and working back to full week.

Moral of story. Pay attention. Dress and ride brightly. Never ever trust the other guy.
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Old 10-17-11, 02:17 PM
  #24  
modernjess
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There have been a few, no hospitaliztions, but I have MCL tear in my knee that still nags me 3 years later. But none as frustratingly memorable as:

It's springtime and the studded have tires been prematurely removed by some total idiot (me). A big thaw one day then freeze over night, that I didn't realize happened. Ice everywhere, I'm on the ground three times in a 5 mile stretch and almost down about 20 more times. No injuries but a painful lesson learned.
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Old 10-17-11, 02:30 PM
  #25  
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Well not a recent story and it wouldn't have been that bad I just got unlucky on how I hit the sidewalk. A car turned down the one-way street I was on the wrong way and I had to bail out of it's path to the left. Before that I had never mastered, let alone even tried to bunny hop over a curb. In that do or die monent, I went for it and successfully avoided the car and managed to get onto the sidewalk but without my bike. I hit the curve, went straight over my bar and landed full weight on my shoulder severely separating it. For some reason, rather than being angry I felt horrifically embarrassed and just jumped back on my bike and took off around the corner where I proceeded to fall off again. After that I just crawled up against a wall and started laughing uncontrollably, my default reaction when something hurts like hell.

Moral of the story, learn how to jump onto a curb ahead of time.

Last edited by WestonP; 10-17-11 at 02:47 PM.
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