Monday, April 13, 2009

I got hit by a car!!!

Don't worry, Mom...I'm OK!

Saturday was a beautiful day, so I abandoned my husband to his video game and set out for my first long training ride on my new road bike. My goal was 50 miles.

I've been off of my training plan for a few weeks, so I was kinda nervous about doing the distance. But after about 30 miles, I was feeling great! It really restored my confidence that I'll be ready for the century in June. It also showed me just how much easier it is to ride a light weight bike. Wow! What a difference!

My route was almost entirely on the paved bike trails around my city. All except about a mile stretch where the Southbelt Trail takes a break at US 131, and you have to cut down the road to reconnect on the other side of the freeway.

So I was trucking along 68th Street on my loop back toward home - at about mile 39 of my ride. I noticed a police car passing me, going the other direction. I approached Division Ave. on the side walk, so I could use the crosswalk, since this is a very busy intersection. I stopped at the corner, then got the "Walk" light to cross. A black car pulled up in the right turn lane in front of me and stopped. I looked at the driver, and since she stopped, I assumed she saw me. Nope.

I pedalled out into the road, and just as I got in front of the black car, it started accelerating into its turn. In the second that it took for the car to travel the 5 or so feet from its position, I saw it coming. I saw that it wasn't slowing down but in fact speeding up. And I knew it was going to hit me. There was no time to get out of the way, so I knew I was just going to have to take it.

Impact! I fell over sideways and wondered if I would be sucked under the car. Fortunately, I started some kind of disorienting flip spin that sent me glancing past the side of the car - not under it! When I landed, I was facing a completely different direction than I started. The bike was still between my legs, and both feet had come out of the clips. I ended up with my head off the ground somehow. I don't think it ever touched pavement - and the complete lack of scratches on my helmet attests to that.

When everything stopped moving, I had that moment of assessing just how bad it was. I could hear a woman from the car in the opposing left turn lane yell at me not to get up. I understood that. I've had plenty of crisis and first aid training myself. I took a mental tally of all my body parts for pain or stiffness. My elbow hurt a little - that's where I came down the hardest. My knee hurt a little - that's where the bike frame collided with my body. Otherwise, I felt miraculously fine. People got out of cars and ran over to me immediately. By the time I knew it was safe to move, there were 3 or 4 people asking if I was ok. I asked for help getting out of the road and sat down on the sidewalk to calm my shaky legs for a minute. A nice man carried my bike out of the street for me.

Then it all became a huge spectacle! The driver that hit me pulled into the bank parking lot on the corner where the collision happened. Then the police car that passed me on 68th Street moments before pulled in, followed by 2 more police cars and about 6 witnesses. I gave all my information to the police. They talked to the driver and the witnesses. I've got a police report and the driver's information. I declined to go to the hospital. Though my bruises were starting to swell a little, I knew I didn't have any serious injuries. I just wanted to go home and get some ice.

I called my husband to come pick me up, but his ringer was off. He says it's probably a good thing he didn't get the call, because if he had been there, he would have wanted to kill the girl that hit me. She and I talked briefly. She was very appologetic. She felt really bad. I was strangely calm about the whole thing. I never panicked or freaked out on the girl. She said that she was watching traffic to the left and never looked back to the right before turning. It was entirely her fault. I did everything right there...except maybe being extra sure that she saw me before crossing the street. But even so, I could see myself making the same mistake in her place. I try to watch carefully for pedestrians and bikes, but heck. I could make that mistake, too. I sure won't now, though! Maybe I'm too sympathetic. Maybe I should be pissed.

One of the police officers offered to give me a ride home, so I put my mangled bike in his trunk and we set off. I wonder what my neighbors thought about a cop car delivering me home in the back seat! Then, of course, I told my hubby what happened. This wonderful man made me an ice pack and dinner and fulfilled his very manly role of comforting me and offering to kill my attacker. How sweet! lol

So, I walked away from the whole thing. I survived being hit by a car! My guardian angel was on duty this weekend! I can only imagine what would have happened if the car was going faster. Or if I hadn't been spun off to the side instead of going under the tires. I'm a lucky girl!

My bike was not so lucky. My just-bought-it-two-weeks-ago-and-I'm-having-such-a-great-ride-that-I-want-to-finish bike. The front wheel is bent pretty severly. I think the fork took the main impact of the fender, because it's scratched pretty bad. The handle bar hoods are folded over sideways. The chain came off of the front chainring. The rear derailleur and break levers are scraped from sliding on the asphault. I plan to take the bike in to the shop to see if the frame was cracked at all. Since it's carbon, if there's any chance that it was weakened by the crash, it's done for. I'm thinking that I'll ask the girl's insurance to buy me a new bike. That's kinda cool, but I'm still ticked that my brand new bike is broken. That I can't ride it right now. That I have to wait for a new bike again. That I didn't get to finish that 50 mile ride! Don't get me wrong...I'm also wholeheartedly thankful that I'm alive! But arg!
Here's the bent front wheel, which I had to take off to get the bike in the police car.
Here's the fork where the fender of the car hit it.
These are some seriously bent handle bars. I'm still trying to work out the physics of how this happened!
Scraped quick release lever. I know this happened in the accident because the lever was brand new.
Scraped rear derailleur and loose chain.
The handlebars hit the ground hard somehow! The other side is scraped up, too.

I have to give some props to my clothing, too. I've got bruises on my legs, elbow and hand. My shoulder is sore. But I have no back, neck or head pain. I have minor scraping on my elbow where it kissed gravely pavement. But nothing on my hands, legs, hips, head... My sleave didn't even tear. My clothing really protected me. Wow.
This is where I hit the ground the hardest. Not bad! It's turning purple, though. And my shoulder is sore, too.
This one keeps deepening in shades of the rainbow, as well. As do the bruises on other parts of me, but this one's the most chromatic.

One more favorite reaction to the news that I got hit by a car. My boss this morning said, "It's about time!" He has a wierd sense of humor. Sweet, huh?


  1. yikes! you are indeed lucky. that could've been so much worse! i'm glad you're safe and relatively sound.

    and definitely get their insurance to get you a new bike. had you been in a car, they'd have to pay to repair/replace your car, so why shouldn't they foot the bill for your bike?

    good luck with the training!

  2. Glad to hear that you're OK. Had to chuckle at Gene's comment - sounds just like him. :-)

  3. Thanks for letting me know you are ok right off the bat! and yes, the driver should be responsible for your bike. Definitely follow up on that! Stay safe!!!

    Love, Mom

  4. Oh, my gosh, that's crazy! Thank goodness you're okay. F-ing cars and their right hooks. If I had a nickle for every time a car turned right with no regard to me...I'd have a dollar or two. I've had the situation where someone would stop and I could swear that they saw me, but then they went anyway. Luckily, I have not been hit (yet). I say you're far too kind to the driver. It's not rocket science for a driver to look to her right before turning right! Absolutely her insurance better pay for your bike. Your poor little happy new bike :(

  5. Oh my!

    So glad you're doing OK. What a scare!

    I used to work as an insurance claims agent so feel free to ask questions. If you haven't contacted them already, call the driver's insurance company. Retain receipts for any medical care you receive. Sometimes it hurts a lot more the day AFTER an accident when the tensed up muscles start complaining loudly.

    Your attitude about the whole situation rocks. Get some rest, heal up and hopefully you'll be spinning again soon...

  6. You are lucky!

    I'd def get them to pay for a new bike. I had an accident where I was walking it on sidewalk and the person didn't look right and stupid me just kept on walking. She hit the front of my bike and bent my front rim and wheel. Because I felt that both me and her were to blame on it, I just got her to pay half of the cost of a new rim.

  7. Glad to know you're okay! Getting hit by a car must be terrifying, and I'm sorry to hear about the bike, but I'm delighted to know the body sustained no permamnent damage.