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Lucky escape – a reader’s story

13 February, 2013

I’m one of those pushing 65+ riders who tends to ride solo. Having pigged out a bit over the Christmas period and with a couple of extra kilos to get rid of, it was time to go for a Sunday morning trundle. Sunday 30/12/2012, 0900 hours, fabulous conditions and absolutely enjoying myself. I’m in the bright lycra, twin AyUps flashing as usual, doing my usual 21-23 Km/h, and all is good.

Next thing I can recall is the grill of a white car coming out of a side street, one metre from the left side and still moving.

“This can’t have a good ending,” I thought. Luckily for me, it was a bulls-eye hit – my left leg must have been at 10 o’clock, so the seat tube took the full impact half way up. As a result, the bike was pushed from under me, my cleats released, and I took an involuntary journey up the bonnet and broke the car’s windscreen with my left buttock. By now the car brakes would have been applied, so I took another involuntary ride down the bonnet, landing on my poor left buttock again.

The ambulance and police were called, with the ambos probably packing the plastic bag and a brush and shovel to pick up the pieces. When they arrived they found me still sitting on my left bum cheek, looking a little bemused but would you believe it, not a scratch, no broken bones, no marks on the helmet, no tingles in fingers and toes – in fact, looking sort of OK! No, I wasn’t about to get on the bike and ride home; every groin muscle I own was torn and my nether regions were starting to hurt like hell.

A trip to the ER, CAT scans and X-rays later, and things didn’t look too bad; I still couldn’t walk though. A night in hospital for observation and I was back home for New Year’s Eve. Of course my bike now has a nice crack through the seat tube, so is effectively a write-off.

Everyone at the scene and later at the hospital was extremely helpful, including the driver, I might add. At least there was no famous cricketer’s outburst as to why I was on the road in front of his/her car! The ambos did eventually get back to enjoy the cappuccino they had had to leave on the table.

The driver’s insurance took responsibility for bike damage, (as generously as they usually are), and the TAC are picking up the medical bills. I’ve got a couple more weeks at home thanks to stress fractures all around my pelvis, but hopefully no long-term damage.

Motto: You can be very lucky; 400mm forward, 400mm back, left leg at two o’clock instead of 10 and perhaps I could have been in a box. The planets were aligned for the crash to happen, but they were also aligned to let me off as lightly as I was.

I have been back to the intersection to work out why I didn’t see the car from way back, and why the driver didn’t see me.

I was doing my own Accident Appreciation Squad work. No badly placed bus stop, hedge, tree … nothing. The only thing I can reconstruct theoretically in my head was as there was a left-turn lane on my side, if a car had slipped inside to turn left, that may have been all that was needed at that critical moment to block visibility for both the driver and me.

So that’s how I celebrated the end of 2012 and the start of 2013 – it can only improve from here!

Peter Perryman

We get great letters to the editor every issue. We often publish letters that we don’t agree with, but feel these pages should reflect your views, not ours. (We do, however, reserve the right to edit letters when necessary.) The letters are a very popular part of the magazine, and we love getting them so we can publish a wider variety of points of view. We’re also proud to host your comments on this blog. In fact, as of next issue the letters page in the magazine will be called “Letters and comments” so that we can incorporate the top comments from this site in the hard-copy collection. Write to us at rideon@bicyclenetwork.com.au or leave a comment on any of the articles or pages on this site.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. ingrid permalink
    17 February, 2013 4:19 pm

    Thank goodness you’re ok.
    I wonder if there was a give way or a stop sign on the side street in front of the car? Not that they all Stop behind the white line.
    I have asked for stop signs to replace give ways in a couple of places but the council didn’t agree.

  2. 26 April, 2013 4:05 pm

    I would go by old adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Truly enough, I had an accident four weeks ago whilst on my way to work in Melbourne CBD. I was on Swanston St and turning right to Bourke when I made a move to turn right before the traffic lights on a semi-90 degree angle. My front tyre slid off the tram tracks when it hit a partly-elevated section of the track. I couldn’t save myself with clip-on pedals, with my head, right knee and upper shoulder getting the most impact. My bike was unharmed and a bloke helped out on the street and asked me what happened. I was conscious of what happened, and I realised my face was grazed and I started feeling a sore face. I continued on and went to my workplace to seek for first aid. Luckily, there were no fractures or major damage.

    I would like to know if Ride On could start writing or compiling a list of ‘Accident Prone Areas’ for cyclists (mostly for commuters and recreational cyclists who use busy roads since those people may not have the most experience until they get years of riding on all surfaces). If not on this topic, perhaps, along the lines of a “List of Not-to-Do’s When Cycling”.
    I know that there are various codes of conduct for road cycling and drivers but not much discussion is talked or written about the dangers faced by bike riders or cyclists.

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