28 October 2010

Right hook

Well it finally happened -- I was hit a week or so ago (Sunday, Oct. 17). After 10's of thousands of miles over the last decade or so, the odds were no longer in my favor.

To set the scene, I was riding the first part of my L-L-L Permanent out to the store in Gorman and back. Heading back home on the short, sub 1-mile stretch of Hwy 98. Noon. Traffic was light and visibility was excellent. Wearing my red, white, and blue RUSA wool jersey.

Just before I made the turn onto Kemp Rd., I heard a car approaching from behind. I caught a quick glance of her front bumper for a split second then she made a right turn directly on top of me. Hit my left thigh with the front quarter panel of her car, leaving a black mark between the wheel well and front door. Sent me into the ditch, landing on my elbow and rolling off the bike.

I swear to god, the first words out of her mouth: "I didn't see you". Clearly.

Maybe she was trying to figure out a way to set her DVR to record Wheel of Fortune from her JitterBug phone. Maybe she was daydreaming about lunch -- trying to remember how long the potato salad had been in the fridge -- was it one week or two… Who knows. The end result was, she simply wasn't paying attention and hit me.

I called 911 as soon as I could dig my phone out of my bag -- the sheriff & EMT guys showed up in about 5 minutes. The EMT declared nothing was obviously broken, but I should see my doctor first thing on Monday. For a few minutes, there was enough adrenaline going through me that I didn't notice the pain, but it didn't take long for my left hip and right elbow didn't take long to start hurting.

After talking with the sheriff deputy, I decided to try riding home. Only made it about a mile or two before I had to call my wife to come get me -- my elbow was already starting to swell and I couldn't support my weight with my right arm. By Sunday evening, it looked like I had a golf ball under the skin on my elbow and I couldn't bend my arm -- had to eat left handed. Ice and ibuprofen seemed to help, but it was hurting like pure hell.

Went to my doctor on Monday -- he took one look at my elbow and asked if I'd had it x-rayed. Since I didn't go to the ER, he ordered a round of x-rays. Great. I was hoping it wasn't fractured.

Doc called the next day to let me know it wasn't fractured, but to keep going with the ice/ibuprofen/elevation for a while longer. I was sore all over for several days from the violence of being knocked to the ground. It took a little over a week for my elbow to start to feel OK.

The worst thing about my injuries was not being able to pick up my son, Finn. I've only recently been able to hold him without my elbow speaking up.

In the grand scheme of things, I was lucky. I can think of a 1000+ ways it could have been worse -- much worse. Yeah, I had to deal with some inconvenience, and there will be more to come as the insurance claim comes together, but I'll be fine -- I'll live to ride another day.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing, my bike survived without a scratch -- I cushioned it with my body.


Biker Bob said...


What a bummer, but thankful you are healing and no bones were broken. Like you said, things could have been a lot worse. Hope you will soon be back in form.

skiffrun said...

Regarding "Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing, my bike survived without a scratch -- I cushioned it with my body."

Somehow, I'm thinking that Finn would have gladly have traded a few scratches or worse to the bike in order to have his dad able to pick him up and hold him.

And I'm thinking Finn's dad actually thinks similarly.

-b said...

Yes, it was extremely frustrating not to be able to hold him for a while and to make matters worse, he was sick and just wanted to be held. It feels good to be able to rock him back to sleep at night.

MG said...

Wow, so sorry to hear about this! Glad to hear nothing was broken, so maddening the driver did not even SEE you, and I hope all heals quickly

bullcitybiker said...

Dude- had no idea! Very relieved to hear that you're gonna be okay. Happy too that your bike made it out alive as well!

none said...

Ugh, sorry this happened and glad you are healing well and your bike survived.

Had you taken the lane? Just curious as I'm riding 98 a lot these days and annoy drivers by being in the lane, but at least I'm seen. That wide shoulder is attractive, but I don't know that I'd be any safer riding it.

Noon...light traffic...scary to say the least.

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WayneClark said...

I suffered a "right hook" on Tryon Rd yesterday (12/11/12) near the border between Cary and Raleigh. I was commuting from Cary to NC State at the time.

My accident was not nearly as bad as yours. All I have is a skinned knee and forearm plus a swollen right hand. The hand is the only real injury of any relevance and I should be able to ride again in a week or so.

This was my first collision with an automobile in 41 years of bicycling so, just like you said, the odds were not in my favor.

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