Jodi and I have been getting ready for this summer’s bike tour. This year we are going to keep it simple and ride out the driveway heading for Montreal then Quebec City and finally back to Boston. Originally we had circled next Wednesday as our departure date, but we are hoping to have a meeting with a potential new client sometime next week, and another recently new client called and asked us to do a shoot on Thursday. so we moved our departure date back to next Friday.
As usual, we haven’t ridden our bikes as much as we should this year, so we will be starting the trip under-trained. To try to remedy that a bit, yesterday morning we set out for an easy ride through the Blue Hills Reservation, which is just a couple of miles from our condo.
On our way there we were riding through a four way intersection with the green light, me leading with Jodi behind me, when a driver went around us on the left then turned right right through me. The classic “right hook.” If I remember things correctly (the adrenaline rush is amazing, and everything unfolds quite slowly) he hit me with his right rear door. I remember thinking it was very important that I not fall until his rear wheel had passed me, and somehow I managed to do that. Jodi told me it looked like I had almost recovered control of the bike but I eventually did fall after the car had cleared me, landing hard on my left hip and sliding across the pavement. I remember feeling frustrated, while I was falling, that I was not in control of how I was going to hit the ground because it was happening too fast. I was determined not to hit head first though, and hit with my hip first. I did hit my head, but with my helmet on I hardly even felt it.
Of course, the adrenaline was coursing through my body, and I looked and could see that the driver was still driving, so I jumped up and yelled at him “You better stop that fucking car!”. The car in front of him stopped, forcing him to stop. I’m not sure he would have stopped otherwise. When the driver got out of his car he was quite angry that I had cursed at him, and immediately told me it was my fault for not getting out of his way. I told him he was a moron and when the cops got there they could explain it to him. He never did ask if I was hurt.
Pretty soon a cop was there, then the paramedics from the fire department, and finally an ambulance. I got a ride to the hospital
strapped to a back board in the ambulance. Jodi and I spent several hours at the hospital, mostly waiting for a series of hip x-rays to
make sure I hadn’t broken anything. While still at the accident scene I was walking fine, and almost turned down the ambulance, but the
smart cop nudged Jodi and Jodi told me to go to the hospital, so I did. By the time we had spent a couple of hours sitting in the
hospital emergency room waiting for the x-rays, I could barely walk any more. I’ve got some oxycodone – acetaminophen (generic Percocet) tablets for the pain, which help a lot, but even this morning I can barely moveHopefully another day of sitting around will be enough for that to ease so I can at least move around on my own. I turned down the offer of crutches at the hospital, which probably would have been a good idea.
The cop came to the hospital and gave me the case number so I can get the accident report, and told me the driver was quite taken aback when he got a ticket. Apparently he was quite upset about the damage I had done to his car, and was still adamant that it was my fault because I should not have been in the road. I wish I believed he is exceptionally ignorant, but I think there are lots of people driving who share that belief.
I wish I could understand the thought process that was going on in his head. He knew I was there, since he moved left to try to go around me, so what did he think was going to happen when he turned right while I was to the right of his car? I don’t believe he consciously thought “I’m just going to hit that guy on the bicycle with my car,” but somehow he managed to mentally dismiss my presence and turn as if I wasn’t there. That’s the part I’ve never been able to figure out; how do people go from “I don’t think bicycles should be on the road” to ignoring their presence and possibly killing another person?
So, I haven’t seen the damage to my bike yet. It’s still in the back of Jodi’s car and hopefully I’ll be moving around enough that I can
help her get it out later today. Jodi looked at it briefly and told me there’s some minor stuff broken — the rear view mirror and the
tail-light — and that there is some paint missing on the top tube. Since it is a steel frame that will need to be re-painted to prevent
rust. Hopefully there’s nothing else, like a bent fork or tacoed wheel. Whether or not both the bike and I will be ready to leave by
Friday is a big question mark right now.
The doctor told me I should be moving fairly well by tomorrow, and if not I should come back and they would do an MRI to see if there were any hairline fractures that didn’t show up on the x-rays. Assuming I’m mobile I’ll go to the police station and get a copy of the accident report, then get in touch with the guy’s insurance company. I’ll also get my bike to the bike shop and have them go over it and write up any needed repairs. I’ve also got to get a new helmet.