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Your worst bike crash ever. What do you remember and/or learned from it?

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Road Cycling “It 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.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Your worst bike crash ever. What do you remember and/or learned from it?

Old 10-20-13, 09:56 AM
  #1  
ButchA
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Your worst bike crash ever. What do you remember and/or learned from it?

Let's all flash back to the 70's (summer of 1976 to be exact): I was in high school back then. Myself and my next door neighbor (and childhood best friend) would always take off on our heavy steel framed 10 speed bikes and ride. Wherever we ended up is wherever we ended up, you know how it goes... No helmets, no special shoes, no high tech clothing or gear of today. We'd always bum a few dollars from our moms and take off on a ride in the summer months in the morning and come home in the afternoon. Anyway, all these decades later, I can still vividly recall my worst bike crash that put me in the hospital overnight for observation...

My bike: old 70's style Raleigh Grand Prix 10 speed. I needed to change the brake pads, but was lazy and never got around to it. So, my brakes were a little weak, but they would eventually stop. Otherwise, the bike itself was still in perfect condition.

Evan's bike: old 70's style Schwinn 10 speed (can't remember model). His was almost brand new and still in excellent condition.

Growing up near Poughkeepsie, New York (2 hrs north of NY City) we had all sorts of beautiful country roads to ride on. We always rode parallel to the Taconic State Pkwy on all the small back roads, and would almost be in the next county if we pushed it further. We'd always stop for lunch and an ice cream cone and had a ball back then...

The accident:
We were on our way back on Rossway Road (see thumbnail map attachment below), which was very hilly and we were up on top of the large hill. It had rained a day or two ago and there were some leftover puddles on the sides of the road. Dummy me decided to ride my Raleigh right into one of the puddles and got my tires, rims, and brakes wet! We both had forgotten about the wicked steep hill on the way down to the T intersection at Mountain Road. I shouted to Evan that we should fly down the hill, being the daredevil that I was. So Evan led the way down as fast as he could go and veered left on Mountain Road, finally coming to a stop right near the bottom of the intersection (thank God no cars were coming!). I come flying down afterwards and can remember hitting my brakes and hearing them go "Ssssssss" because they were wet from the muddle and the pads were weak. Oh no!!!

The last thing I remember is thinking, "Oh my God, I'm not going to make the turn!", and remember almost laying my bike down on the left side like a motorcross racer, dragging my left foot, desperately trying to make the turn. The bike hit a little gravel, skidded back upright and went straight!! That's the last thing I remember - even after all these decades.

Evan watched in horror, as my Raleigh Grand Prix and I went airborne like Evel Knievel off the road's embankment, and into the trees on the other side of Mountain Road. Evan said I went head-on into a big tree, and my left hand got caught in the hand brake, which apparently yanked me to the left side, so I didn't die from striking the big tree with my head. But I went over the handlebars, scraping the tree with my right side, dislocating my left thumb and tearing open the webbing between my thumb and index finger on my left hand. Worse yet - I got knocked unconscious when I landed on a big rock with my head and sprained my neck. Evan went running to the house right near the intersection (thank God they were home!) and they came running out and carried me out of the woods. They called the local rescue squad (believe it or not my dad was Asst Chief of the local fire dept & ambulance service, so everyone knew him), and they came and got me. I remember drifting in and out of consciousness in the back of the ambulance, wondering what happened. My dad and his buddy drove the ambulance at probably 100 mph to the hospital while one of the younger EMT's was in the back with me. Meanwhile, Evan rode back home and got his mom to come with the station wagon and they retrieved my (now totalled) Raleigh Grand Prix from in the woods.

I remember trying to move and look around in the hospital ER and my neck hurt so bad I was crying in pain. I had a neck brace on and was all wrapped up in bandages. I remembered that they took me to St. Francis (where my oldest sister worked as a nurse in the ICU) and I was crying, "Where's Karen? I need Karen!" The ER called up to the ICU and told Karen all about my accident, and Karen came running down the ER to see me. Karen's first words to me were, "What did you do now?" But she reassured me that I was a little scraped up and busted up, but I'll be okay. The most pain I remember was when they had to reset my thumb back into its socket. OUCH!!

In a nutshell: I spent the night in the hospital for observation due to my sprained neck. I had a dislocated thumb and 8 stitches in the webbing of my left hand. I had 13 stitches in my head just above my hairline. I had to wear a neck brace for a week or two and had my left thumb in a soft splint and bandaged left hand.

How about you? Do you remember your worst bike accident?

Edit: I learned to always keep my bike in perfect condition and NEVER ride through puddles - especially if I'm going to be foolish and ride at 50 mph straight down a hill!!
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Old 10-20-13, 11:29 AM
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After riding serious for almost 12 years I had a bad crash for first time this year back in July. Ran off the road (shoulder on a 6" drop off) going 30 mph and left sided and just now my left shoulder starting to heal all the way. Still some slight tinge of pain every so often. But road rash and severe bruising as well as a very badly injured shoulder I survived to go back next week following in pain still to get back to it.
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Old 10-20-13, 11:44 AM
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I guess still being young and only recently started riding often, I haven't really had a ton of time to get into a bad crash. I did, just two days ago, have my first crash since youth though. I live at a university and bike to class. I cant always use the roads because at certain times of the day it's all stop and go traffic and not something you want to be in the middle of on a bicycle. So I took the sidewalks to my class. A group of three girls were taking up the entire width of the sidewalk, and I was coming up on them decently fast for a sidewalk, maybe 15-18mph. Not thinking about the dew on the grass, I decided it was a good idea to pass on the grass. I swerve onto the grass and the second I try to turn back onto the sidewalk, the bike lost traction and sent my right side onto the brick sidewalk and sent the bike bouncing about 30 feet from where I landed. I wasn't wearing a helmet but somehow I got lucky and my head didn't hit the ground but I got a decent bit of road rash on my left hand and my right arm. My bike's handlebars are a little bent and the rear wheel is pretty out of true. Could have been much worse but will serve as a reality check. Need to start being more careful and consider investing in a helmet.
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Old 10-20-13, 11:49 AM
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I don't remember it. :-/
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Old 10-20-13, 11:50 AM
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9/11/12
Riding along one peaceful afternoon. Next thing I know I'm sitting up on the ground, looking at my broken R collarbone. I have some vague memory of a white dog, but did he hit me or I just swerved? My helmet is cracked so my head must have hit the ground. Two nice ladies come to help me get up, when my rear is about 1" off the ground I realize something else is wrong- my fractured pelvis. Also 3 broken ribs. Ambulance to hospital, cancellation of the next days trip to Vegas, surgery on the collar bone, 6 days in the hospital, 3 weeks off work. 2 weeks on crutches, 6 weeks on a cane, 3 more weeks with a limp. Off bike 2 1/2 months. What did I learn? Dogs suck. And keep your head up at all times.
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Old 10-20-13, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by oujeep1 View Post
9/11/12
Riding along one peaceful afternoon. Next thing I know I'm sitting up on the ground, looking at my broken R collarbone. I have some vague memory of a white dog, but did he hit me or I just swerved? My helmet is cracked so my head must have hit the ground. Two nice ladies come to help me get up, when my rear is about 1" off the ground I realize something else is wrong- my fractured pelvis. Also 3 broken ribs. Ambulance to hospital, cancellation of the next days trip to Vegas, surgery on the collar bone, 6 days in the hospital, 3 weeks off work. 2 weeks on crutches, 6 weeks on a cane, 3 more weeks with a limp. Off bike 2 1/2 months. What did I learn? Dogs suck. And keep your head up at all times.
Scary.
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Old 10-20-13, 12:18 PM
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^^Geez. Please allow me to add some levity to this and to what's to come.

Cycling through a park in Knoxville, TN. Headed to a tailgate on a game day a couple of years ago. There's a couple on the path so I go around them. When I get back on the paved trail, at about 25MPH, I realize too late that my tires have gathered some mud/water. I go down. Next thing I know is that I'm standing but my bike is about 60 feet away. Surely I didn't roll 60 feet.

Well, the couple said that, after I hit the ground (smashing my helmet), I got up and started running the other way for some reason. Concussions can do weird things. I ended up being fine other than the concussion.
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Old 10-20-13, 12:35 PM
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1989 or so, 7th grade, trying to ride no hands a few blocks with a super soaker on each hand to ambush a friend. Broke collarbone, got out of PE for a few weeks.
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Old 10-20-13, 12:49 PM
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Last year. Going through a tiny rock garden on the mountain bike. I got overconfident and wasn't paying attention to where my pedals where. My pedal snagged on a rock, I went over the bars and landed on my back, right side. The Camelbak broke most of the fall, but I managed to land very hard on my side. I got a bruised kidney and quads. I couldn't walk right due to the pain for about a month.

How it started the first day.


A couple of days later. That's the right lower side of my back.


Quad
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Old 10-20-13, 01:19 PM
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I have 2. First was in 7th grade. Friend and I are both on my 10 speed. He is on the saddle, and I am in front pedaling and steering. We go down a big hill, but there is a patch of sand at the bottom. When we hit the sand, I have trouble keeping the steering wheel straight and it turns 90deg and we both go over the handlebars. Fortunately we land in soft sand and are ok, but the front wheel is taco'd.

The second was worse. On an MS150 ride on the shoulder of a concrete road. There was a seam in the concrete between the shoulder and the road that I didn't notice. I drifted sideways a little bit, hit the seam, and went over the bars. Lost a front tooth, stitches in the chin, and ruined the front wheel
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Old 10-20-13, 01:20 PM
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Only real crash I have had, heading down Mount Diablo from the summit, around a blind turn. I was definitely over the limit of 15mph at this point, but nothing super crazy as I am a fearful descender (moreso now...). As I come around the blind right, a car going the other direction decided that a blind uphill turn would be a good time to pass a cyclist heading up the mountain, and our worlds collided. He just slammed on his brakes rather than swerve and hit the guy going uphill, while I locked the rear and slid into his car and bounced off and rolled a few times. Somehow my right calf took almost all of the blow when I bounced off the car, because aside from a couple tiny scrapes on my hand I was mostly unscathed. Couldn't move my right leg for about a month though, no break, just a HUGE bruise. No work for 6 weeks, very limited walking, I could barely get around on crutches, but nothing broke! All that taught me was that I was right about not liking going downhill... I'd rather climb.
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Old 10-20-13, 02:49 PM
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Just 4 months after my first big crash in April (which resulted in surgery to repair crushed sinus cavity above my left eye, required two titanium plates) had another. This one ended in 3 broken ribs, one of which punctured and partially collapsed my left lung. Also broke my right scapula and severely sprained my ankle (X-Ray was negative but I think there are a few micro fractures).

I learned that hitting a rabbit with your front tire at about 35mph can mess you up pretty good lol
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Old 10-20-13, 03:26 PM
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Only real crash I have had, heading down Mount Diablo from the summit, around a blind turn. I was definitely over the limit of 15mph at this point, but nothing super crazy as I am a fearful descender (moreso now...). As I come around the blind right, a car going the other direction decided that a blind uphill turn would be a good time to pass a cyclist heading up the mountain, and our worlds collided. He just slammed on his brakes rather than swerve and hit the guy going uphill, while I locked the rear and slid into his car and bounced off and rolled a few times. Somehow my right calf took almost all of the blow when I bounced off the car, because aside from a couple tiny scrapes on my hand I was mostly unscathed. Couldn't move my right leg for about a month though, no break, just a HUGE bruise. No work for 6 weeks, very limited walking, I could barely get around on crutches, but nothing broke! All that taught me was that I was right about not liking going downhill... I'd rather climb.
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Old 10-20-13, 05:46 PM
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This would be mine, a concussion with 4 minutes unconsciousness by witnesses, a broken rib (first rib, we trauma docs know just what that means), huge hematoma over hip and skin off from head, elbow arm leg and hip. Cause- a silent and very fast pit bull. I confess I am more wary and fearful now of dogs now than I have ever been in 40 years of serious cycling.

(Warning-graphic injury photo)
https://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/...ps43b82352.jpg

Last edited by CbadRider; 10-20-13 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 10-20-13, 06:26 PM
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stupid thread.
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Old 10-20-13, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
This would be mine, a concussion with 4 minutes unconsciousness by witnesses, a broken rib (first rib, we trauma docs know just what that means), huge hematoma over hip and skin off from head, elbow arm leg and hip. Cause- a silent and very fast pit bull. I confess I am more wary and fearful now of dogs now than I have ever been in 40 years of serious cycling.
How long before you get an infraction for posting the photo again?
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Old 10-20-13, 07:50 PM
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I was a kid.
I rode my aunts 3 speed tank as fast as it could go... I remember it wobbling and being unsteady.

Then I remember a little of the walk home, and that my aunt FREAKED out when she saw me and drove me home.

I remember a lot of blood from my head. Shirt soaked, Jeans soaked, and dripping blood. I remember my Dad being pissed off...

Didn't remember anything for a few days after that either...

Next time I went to my aunt's, the neighborhood kids told me I rode right into the back of a parked car.
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Old 10-20-13, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht View Post
How long before you get an infraction for posting the photo again?
Heck I didn't know you could.
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Old 10-20-13, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
Heck I didn't know you could.
He's a newbie. Figured he hadn't seen it. Be afraid and all that.
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Old 10-20-13, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
He's a newbie. Figured he hadn't seen it. Be afraid and all that.
I'm not saying you should get an infraction, but I've gotten one for much sillier reasons.
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Old 10-20-13, 08:41 PM
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2009, hit from behind by a drunk driver. Heard tires screeching, next thing I remember is laying on the ground looking at trees and sky. "I must have been riding and fell down", I thought as I noticed I was wearing cycling clothes. People around me told me I was hit by a car. Broken scapula, sprained ankle, lots of bruises and road rash.
I survived but could've died as well. I learned death is not such a big deal if it comes like that.
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Old 10-21-13, 03:47 AM
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This link tells the whole story. The actual crash part happens about 10 paragraphs in.
https://www.machka.net/2007/2007_200_VanIsle.htm

The damage:
-- legs scraped from knees to ankles
-- left leg bruised from hips to knees
-- knees badly scraped
-- right hand scraped, bruised and sprained
-- separated left shoulder
-- concussion

When I wrote the story, I didn't realise that I had separated my left shoulder or had a concussion. I realised both later. I should have had a clue about the shoulder when I could move my left arm into positions it had never gone before.

And years later, I still struggle with that shoulder.

What did I learn ... not for the first time, that in a split second, everything can change.

Last edited by Machka; 10-21-13 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 10-21-13, 07:51 AM
  #23  
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A couple of weeks back. Riding back fast on the MUP at 4am (stupid yes!) and I came to a blind turn. Naturally dropped some speed to around 25kph but then some nice construction fellow had left a cone in on the path. Hit the thing, bike went down I went flying. Damage one ripped open chin, ripped bike pants (new too!) and a destroyed bar end and some paint damage. Got up, rode home with blood dripping everywhere for 70km or so. Headaches for three days and my chin is just about healed now. The moral? Slow down at night when your lights have been running for 12 hours and you haven't slept for 36 hours...
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Old 10-21-13, 08:23 AM
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It's about time I reheated this story -- I've only told it about 3 times on.
Beat this for dumb crashes:

Most of my hubs are 'old-school', cone and ball. One night, I had my bike upside down, and was spinning the front wheel using varying skewer tensions to see how much longer the wheel would spin with much less tension. -- - just for fun, I guess.

The next day, I forgot all about the loose skewer when I rode off. About 7km down the road, I hopped a curb while looking over my shoulder for oncoming traffic, and the next thing I knew I was on the asphalt, looking up at the sky, because the front wheel had obviously come off.

I was winded and in lots of pain as I was dragging myself off the road. I had an ambulance ride to the emergency room, but the x-rays 'only' showed a teeeeny crack in one rib. I couldn't believe nothing was busted in my shoulder.
My shoulder was farked and sore for weeks.

As sh1t as it was, I suppose I was lucky that it wasn't worse.

Good story, grandpa
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Old 10-21-13, 11:03 AM
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Worst accident ever? Commuting to work, about one block away, large trunk parked on the side of the road holding lumber. Guy on the side walk unsnaps one of the large canvas straps holding the lumber in place and it comes flying over the other side of the truck. I'm doing about 20 up the gentle incline, I get hit in the head and everything goes black. It seemed miraculous at the time, but I seemed to be still going straight. Of course I couldn't see that strap had encircled my body after smacking me in the head. I became conscious due to someone yelling, only to realize that it was me (I"ve read about that in stories before, but didn't think it was possible). I had dislocated my two lowest vertebrae). Of course there were associated bumps and bruises as well. The absolute worst part, I didn't think I was hurt that badly. I called my wife to pick me up and was terrified beyond belief as I felt the bones shift back into place on the way to the hospital.

What did I learn? Wear a helmet. Believe it or not, I was not wearing one that day. My blackout was from pain, I didn't hit my head at all. I also learned that I am extremely lucky.
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