Thursday, February 26, 2009

What the !#$@%^*&@#$@# were you thinking?

Those were the first words that came out of my mouth as I lay on the side of the road shocked that my worst fear had just come true, I had been hit by a car.

Yesterday evening on my commute home I had good luck and made the 6:08 bus, which is a first for me. This means that I would get home 30 minutes earlier than usual and would not end up eating dinner nearly as late as the past couple of nights and weeks. Well, all that turned bust pretty fast.

I had ridden my bike to the bus stop at the Twin Peaks Mall in Longmont, CO. A strange turn of events for me, as normally I drive the 2 miles down the road, for convenience and time (often I have to stop by the supermarket on the way home and my messenger bag definitely cannot hold that much stuff and I only own racing bikes, so no panniers). My reason for riding was because I had a 12 pm lunch ride meeting with the Bikes Belong Crew, a non-profit advocacy group I am doing a research internship with and am hoping to get a job with in the future. This necessitated riding my bike to the bus.

After booking it down the bike path from CU's campus to the Boulder Bus Station and just making the bus, I settled in for the 30 minute ride back to Twin Peaks Mall and then my 10 minute ride up Sunset St. back home. Hopped off the bus, grapped my bike, secured my messenger bag, and helmet and went to the nearest intersection to wait for the light to turn green so I could ride the loop road around the mall and avoid as much traffic as possible in the dark.

Part way around the loop as I was heading North I saw to my left a Big Red Jeep Wrangler with those crazy big tires for offroading coming flying out of the parking lot area. Twin Peaks Mall parking was designed fairly well regardless of the uselessnes of this mall. There is an inner circle to drive on, parking, and then an outer circle which is two lanes each way. Not being interested in riding through the parking lot or the innner circle as I was travelling fairly briskly, about the speed limit (20 mph) I rode the outer circle. Well the Jeep came flying out of the parking lot towards an exit as I was about to enter the intersection of this exit. He neglected to slow down show any sign of looking both ways or do anything until I was lying on the ground and my bike had been dragged under his car about 10 feet away from me. No matter how hard I slammed on my brakes I was not able to stop in time. One thing that people may note is I should have stopped if it were an intersection. Well, this is a very under travelled intersection and thus the city has not put a stop sign for travellers on the outer loop of the mall but rather only on the entrance and exit ramps of this exit. Leaving me with the right of way.

Now I am laying on the ground in pain, angry, and looking at my mangled road racing and training bike on the side of the road as well as my bleeding elbow and knee. In my lack of being able to think rationally I only got the drivers name, phone #, and address and he left. Had I been thinking more clearly I would have called the police and had a report taken down then. Instead, not thinking, I had Shannon come and get me and take me to the nearest Hospital.

5 hours later I found out, thank God, that my leg was not broken nor my collar bone. These were my two biggest fears being a bike racer and being the type of person that does not sit still very well. Only injuries were some road rash, a severely bruised left calf muscle, and a partially separated AC in my left shoulder. This last injury I think is the worst, as the doctors didn't seem too concerned about my leg and were much more concerned about my shoulder overall. It is looking like it will take between 3-4 weeks to heal, which means though I will probably be back on the bike before then it is very unlikely I will be back on the mountain bike before then, hopefully on a new beautiful full carbon whip!

Bike damage, nothing is savalgeable except for maybe the shifters/brake levers a sad day as I had just rebuilt the whole drive train only a few weeks ago. Pics of the bike will be up shortly after I retrieve it from the back of Shannon's car. Unfortunately my injuries are not visibly serious so I do not look worse for the wear and thus photo's of that would be useless.

Now, time to recover, get these injuries healed as soon as possible and hopefully get back on the bike within the week, assuming I am feeling that much better, don't want to be a hero you know!


jayne duvall said...

its my constant fear every time i go out on a ride. i wish it didnt haunt me. its an outrage how those of us on bikes count for nothing. recently a friend of mine was hit by a car and given a ticket while lying on the side of the road waiting to be airlifted to the hospital. its like we have no clout. " damn bikers on shouldnt be on the road". quick recovery to you!!!

jayne DuVall said...

btw you sound like a very interesting person. hope you get back to racing soon.

Yokota Fritz said...

Ah, bummer. Did you file the police report afterwards?

I occasionally rode across the Mall parking lot but to get to Sunset I generally just zipped straight down Ken Pratt when I lived in Longmont.

Good luck on the insurance settlement, and best wishes for quick healing.

Anonymous said...

It seems as though we bikers are at the mercy of autos. I ony hope that someday bikers wiil be recognized as equal right users of roadways. Good luck in your recovery,physical,emotional,mechanical,spiritual.

Anonymous said...

I commute by bike in Longmont and I must say the drivers are very agressive. I have had some close calls. I find the pedestrian crossings are useless. Even if you have the white walk symbol displayed the cars still pull out in front of you.

I hope you recover soon.

Victoria said...

Gosh, what a jerk! I mean really, who hits a guy and then doesn't even offer to take them home or to the hospital???
I hope you feel better SOON! And your new bike options are both awesome!