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My Accident (old story, but with diagrams!)

Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

My Accident (old story, but with diagrams!)

Old 12-11-05, 04:21 PM
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My Accident (old story, but with diagrams!)

I read lots of stories here about people having accidents, often due to the negligence of others, and often due to their own stupidity. As itís winter here in the Northeast and not much riding is going on, I thought Iíd share my own accident story for your edification and enjoyment. This happened several years ago, so itís long since entered the realm of ďI can look back on this and laugh.Ē This story falls decidedly into category #2: Iím a dumbf**k!

As a prelude, I would like to extend my thoughts and respect to all those of you who have had genuinely bad accidents. I am one of the fortunate few who has ridden a lot and somehow managed not to have anything really terrible happen. Although, now that Iíve written thatÖ

Anyway, coming home from work at the end of my very last day of a job that I hated! The sun was shining, the air was warm, the birds were singingÖ and traffic was at a dead standstill! I was the only one moving. For those of you familiar with the Albany area, this took place in the vicinity of Manning Blvd and Hackett Blvd on the back end of St. Peterís hospital.

To cut some time off of my ride, I was in the habit of cutting through the St. Peterís parking lot. Riding through a parking lot is always a risky proposition, but it made for a more direct route and the traffic in the parking lot, although sometimes complex, didnít move very fast and kept me off of a more busy and complicated roadway.

The entrance to the parking lot features those swing-arm gates that go up and come down (I donít know what theyíre called). They are easy to get around most of the time. Looking at the diagram below, bear in mind that every conceivable roadspace was, at the time, occupied by a vehicle, but owning to congestion and an abundance of traffic lights, none of them were really moving.

As I turned right off the road into the parking lot entrance, I noticed that both the entrance and exit routes were blocked by cars. Now, on the right hand side (going in) thereís really not enough room to squeeze by a car stopped to get a ticket. On the left side (coming out) thereís more than enough room. Not wanting to stop for 10 seconds to wait with the cars going in, or to joust with them and the swing arm, or to risk getting bonked by the swing arm if I go in behind a car, I decided to opt for the route of least resistance (which would technically require that I ride against traffic for 100 feet Ė but in my defense, traffic was not moving at this point)(Let us stop to appreciate the foreshadowingÖ ahhh).

I cut between the stopped cars and across the left-hand lane to get out of the way of traffic. I moved as far left as I could to give wide berth for the traffic coming out of the parking lot, doing a brief negotiation with another car exiting a one way (oncoming) parking lot (in front of the building that the main lot was behind Ė see the picture if thatís confusing!). There were no other cars coming out of that lot, so I moved into the exit as I rolled forward.

At that moment, I swear it felt as if a giant hand grabbed my backpack and pulled me backword. Like when your friend does it, but worse. The next thing I know, Iím laying on my back, staring at the sky, watching my bike roll off into the grass. I staggered up, somebody is asking me if Iím allright. I guess I am, but Iím too busy looking wildly about for what it was that I hit. The area was clear Ė there were no cars, no pedestrians, I was nowhere near the curb, there was nothing. I told the guy in the car I was fine, but confused, and turned around.

The exit to the smaller parking lot also had a swing-arm thingy. I never saw it. Because a car was exiting when I spot-planned my route, it was up and out of the way. Then I looked away to check the other traffic. As I entered the opening to the smaller lot, it started to come down, but I was headed straight into it, and looking in the other direction. As it came down, it caught me on the left shoulder and basically scissored me off the bike!

If it werenít for the heavy padding on the shoulder straps of my backpack (Jansport Super Sack: A+), I probably would have earned that broken collar bone every bodyís always warning me about. As it was, I rode off into the sunset with a bruised ego.

So ends my entry for dumbest accident ever, which may be a good thread for those in the mood to reminisce, reflect on their own failings, or share amusing stories.
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Old 12-13-05, 02:53 AM
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Yep, I've seen someone whacked on the head by a closing boom..
It's not a pretty way to go down.
Glad you suffered only a bruised ego.
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