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Injured and lucky to be alive

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    Injured and lucky to be alive

    I thought I should share what I went through last month. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon riding my ebike home from work. I was riding in the bike lane and was keeping up with a truck that was forced to slow down due to traffic and it made a rapid right turn into the driveway immediately in front of me. I applied my rear brake, knowing this wouldn't be enough stopping power I gently but quickly applied slight front braking which immediately threw me off the bike and underneath the truck in front of me. I recall waiting for the back tire to run me over as I was being crushed under the truck only to see and hear the truck skid to a halt. I immediately pulled myself out from under the truck and collapsed waiting for the ambulance.
    I had been riding every day through rain and snow for the past three years and had been systematically improving my safety by risk mitigation, using alternate safer routes, buying safety equipment etc. . . None of this protected me from my moment of carelessness where I should have known there was a risk.

    Lessons learned, my speed was clearly a factor here. Once my wrist fracture heals and if I ride again, I haven't decided, I will set a speed maximum in my computer. I will treat bicycle lanes as more dangerous than previously thought. In fact, I think bike lanes are more dangerous than riding in traffic.

    I'm still dealing with the haunting memory of being beneath the truck awaiting my crushing death. I share in hopes others will adjust their behavior as they see fit.
    Last edited by joelHFX; 09-20-2019, 11:31 AM.

    Glad you made it out alive!


      I have been hurt worse on my bike then 20 years of snowboarding, decades of mountain off airport flying in my planes, even teaching myself to fly hang gliders and ultralights before that didn't hurt as much. I pay much more attention now when I ride, it's serious business!


        Thanks for sharing this.

        You highlight a particularly scary scenario - approaching a vehicle from behind, possibly in it's blind spot. Chances are, driver doesn't know you are there, and didn't check mirrir berore turning. Or even signal, usually. So it's really dangerous. And it happens a lot when traffic is heavy.

        What's the best way to deal with this? I suppose, bike needs to be completely defensive when overtaking cars. Leave a way out. Not so easy to do, as to say.

        I tend to move way to the right, shoulder or grass, where cars can't go, when in these situations. Not hard on rural roads. But not much of an option for city roads, usually. Slow down and wait, I guess, but when I commuted, that would probably double my trip time. High penalty for safety.

        I just decided not to commute since this exact situation, and others like it, were endlessly repeated. Heavy traffic along fast urban roads with sidewalks but no paths. I could make decent time, OR I could be defensive and take a lot longer. Like, twice as long. Neither was any fun, frankly.

        Glad you are not squashed!!
        Last edited by JPLabs; 05-22-2019, 09:24 AM.
        Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.


        • tklop
          tklop commented
          Editing a comment
          In The Netherlands, the traffic going straight ahead has the right of way--including if it's a bicycle or moped, or scooter, or skateboard--and including when they're on your right.

          Eventually, American cities may have to adopt similar rules for their roads with bike-paths. No right turns on red are allowed here either.

          Furthermore, accidents between bicycles and vehicles are ALWAYS considered the vehicle driver's fault here--and the driver is the one who has to pay--even in circumstances where the cyclist did something clearly stupid. What that does, is ensure that drivers are actively looking for bicyclists. Don't look--you'll be paying.

          That helps some too.

          And sorry--my fellow Americans--but you really have no idea--no matter where you live--of what it's like to actually live someplace with a lot of bikes!

          There are ways to make the interactions between cyclists and other road users much more safe and workable for everybody.

          But America--my homeland--has a long way to go.

          One of the most dangerous things that people in America are told, is that the law affords cyclists all the same rights and responsibilities in traffic as cars do.

          Why is this dangerous? Well--in an American motorcycle rider training course, it was put this way: "You might be "right" but you'll still be dead."

          Cyclists get killed a lot in the above scenario, but also an alwful lot when occupying the "left turn lane" on a bike. Rights or no rights, putting yourself in the middle of traffic, when you know people are not looking for you--is foolish. The more you get away with it, the more confident you become--the more surprised you'll be staring at those duallies rolling toward your skull.

          Ï figure: Be smart--stay alive. Don't get killed asserting your "right-of-way". Good advice for everybody--but especially cyclists. We're pretty vulnerable.

          Be safe!
          Last edited by tklop; 05-22-2019, 01:30 PM.

        I got hit by a car doing the same thing

        I was going down a fairly steep hill - felt like 50mph but I'm betting it was closer to 30 Click image for larger version

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        Immediately after passing me the car turned right and I impacted just ahead of the front wheel and still remember clearly the flight over the hood of the car and the rolling on my shoulder and sliding to the opposite curb

        Lucky - sprained wrist and some rash

        I was 10yrs old

        AZguy don't ride on the streets - haven't since high school days


          It's a classic way to get hit. Being passed by a vehicle while in the bike lane and getting hit when they turn right and forgot you were there. I avoid bike lanes as much as possible. Where I live due to suburban sprawl and a hot humid climate pedestrians are almost non existent, so I will take a sidwalk over a bike lane any time I can.
          In the vehicle code where I live you're allowed to take a whole traffic lane when riding next to parked cars. Also on a one way street with more than one lane you can ride the left shoulder instead of the bike lane. This is very useful when riding on a service road next to an interstate because it avoids all the side street traffic and pedestrians. I don't ride in a bike lane just because it's there. I consider all the options available.
          I'm glad the truck driver realized what was happening and stopped in time. Around here you're lucky if the 2nd car that hits you bothers to stop.


            Turns out I got pretty serious concussion from this. I'm still struggling to be able to work my day job. Head injuries are a very horrible experience. I plan on riding again but I still cannot do it because of my concussion. Drive safe!!


              I was run off the road by a truck merging into my lane lith total disregard as to me being there, with no signal. Just cut me off and was clipped by the rear quarter panel of the truck. Luckily I landed in soft grass with just a few minor bruises and scratches. That was my old ebike. When I built my "new" one, I made sure I could stop from max speed in under 2 car lengths(DMV minimum for cars at these speeds). I also installed front and rear "dashcams" in case things like that happen, there is a record for legal purposes. We can do as much as we can mechanically and skills related, but never erase ALL risks. Test your bikes braking from max speed, hone your skills and prepare the best you can. That's all one can do.
              Glad to hear you made it out, and hope things get better for you.


                Same story but was able to get into a slide that kept me from going completely under the truck. I must admit, I was traveling much faster than anyone driving by would expect (25mph) and that messes with drivers, I average 5-8 mph with legs only just cruising down the road but average 20-25 with the motor. The issue really stemmed from a lack of blinker that would have been very helpful. Ruined one of my shoes and a bunch of scrapes but thank God I was able to get into a slide.