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  1. #1
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    It was bound to happen

    I consider myself to be a fairly aware cyclist - I view my safety as 100% my own responsibility and never want to rely on drivers seeing me for my survival (although I do take many steps to make myself visible). I failed myself yesterday.

    Traffic was exceptionally bad even by D.C. standards and the overflow traffic from people jumping off of the highway had my commuter route backed up. Not sure if it was extra cars or the backup in an unexpected spot but I let myself get distracted. I didn't see the car making a left turn in front of me until it was much to late to stop. Fortunately, I was able to brake a bit which I am sure significantly reduced my injuries. I caught the front fender squarely and went up over the hood taking out the windshield. Surprisingly, my only injuries were a deep bruise on my leg from a handlebar and a bunch of small cuts on my hand from the windshield.

    Don't let your guard down for a second guys and girls - it only takes a split second for things to get ugly.

    Be safe.

  2. #2
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Wow. Was there a police report? Were you 'at fault'? Sounds like the driver was if they made a left in front of you. Bike totaled?
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  3. #3
    (not that fast)
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    Ditto CommuterBoy, I'm assuming the driver was coming toward you and not driving the same direction as you. Hopefully that is one more driver who will look more closely next time. Glad you are ok.

  4. #4
    jrm
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    Glad your Ok

    any pics? j/k

  5. #5
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    Wow, took out the windshield! I bet that made the driver pay attention!
    Glad you are OK...hope you heal up soon.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    Wow. Was there a police report? Were you 'at fault'? Sounds like the driver was if they made a left in front of you. Bike totaled?

    No police report or pictures - I don't think it occurred to either of us. Fortunately I was able to slow enough before impact that my bike didn't appear to suffer any major damage. Also, I was riding my steel framed Niner w/ the rigid steel fork which also helped. I will definitely need to check and see if either the frame or fork bent - I didn't notice last night but was a bit shaken. The front caliper was dragging for the remainder of the ride home but I will have to through it on the stand tonight to see if there is anything else wrong.

    The driver was coming in the opposite direction and made a left turn in front of me - which I suppose would put her at fault for failing to yield. I'm not sure it really matters a whole lot at this point - had I been paying better attention I might have been able to avoid the collision and that is my lesson learned from this incident.

  7. #7
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Cripes, I'm glad to hear you weren't hurt worse! We all go into auto-pilot now and then, it happens when you take the same route at the same time every day, but you're absolutely right that we need to be on our toes at all times, otherwise "wake up calls" such as yours can come as a nasty shock. Often without the happy ending.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  8. #8
    M_S
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    Your humbleness is admirable, but in fact it sounds like the driver was absolutely at fault. In the future, it would be best to file a police report and absolutely get the driver's insurance information. At this point, it is probably too late to seek compensation for damages, so I hope you are not more seriously injured, and your bike is ok.

    Best of luck.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    Cripes, I'm glad to hear you weren't hurt worse!
    + 1 gadzillion. And a whole bunch of 'Thank You, Lord's!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    We all go into auto-pilot now and then,... Often without the happy ending.
    Twice today. An approaching van wandered too close to the other side of the rumble strip and was by before I even thought of getting out of Dodge. Darn close.

    Worse is when it is on purpose/exceedingly careless.. My other lapse was an idiot who passed me 2 car lengths from the stop (at the top of the grade, I was in 30-21 and cranking) when I thought they'd stick. So I had to slam on brakes to keep from burying my front wheel in the bumper. Bear in mind he was far in excess of the speed limit, had only to slow on approach to coordinate with my climb and the stop. But NOOOO.

    Window open so they heard some 'colorful metaphors'. Should have heaved my full Stainless Steel Water bottle. Probably the driver'd have time to stop but not time to drive respectfully. Driver's lucky: I almost rode with the video cam in front today. The cell takes to long to bring to bear. I need a handlebar cam with a remote trigger.


    Sorry OP, your thread, but thought I'd reinforce the Constant Vigilance message. And get a therapeutic rant in, too.

    Feel lots better now. Thanks. Hope your recovery is nearly as quick.

  10. #10
    weirdo
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    Yeah, what Xplorer said.
    You must have been moving along pretty good. Anyway, sorry to hear of your bad day- sure hope you don`t develop any signs of damage later on and hope the bike looks allright after a thorough exam.

  11. #11
    Are we there yet?
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    Any collision with another party should always be written up by the police on the spot to protect your rights. While you might be OK, you don't know for sure in the initial moments following a wreck.

    You can have a report made after the fact, and I still would if I were you. You have no recourse for recovering any possible loses without a report.

    I agree with your comment on taking %100 responsiblity for ones safety, but there is still a brief window when there is no way to avoid someone who pulls out in front of you, even when you are watching them vigilantly. The person determined to be at fault is still responsible for compensating the loses of the other person.

    Any crash with a car is going to be tramatic. No one can be expected to be thinking clearly in this situation, that's why everyone needs to train themselves before hand to Always demand that the police be called and a report be written up.

    I'm glad to hear you weren't hurt worse.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostQuick
    Any collision with another party should always be written up by the police on the spot to protect your rights. While you might be OK, you don't know for sure in the initial moments following a wreck.

    Any crash with a car is going to be tramatic. No one can be expected to be thinking clearly in this situation, that's why everyone needs to train themselves before hand to Always demand that the police be called and a report be written up.

    I'm glad to hear you weren't hurt worse.
    I appreciate all of the feedback. In discussing my accident with two friends (one a cop and one a lawyer) who have both had very similar accidents albeit with much more serious injuries, both said the exact same thing regarding having a police report filed (to be more accurate, both told me I was an idiot for not having done so).

    I had never given two seconds of thought as to what I would/should do in the case of an accident while biking and given how much adrenaline was pumping through my system in the first few minutes after the collision, I was not really in a position to make good decisions.

    In this case I did get very lucky - other than a couple of bruises which are already fading neither I or my bike suffered any real damage. If there ever is a next time I will definitely be prepared to take the proper steps. In addition to getting a police report and the other driver's info, I will also be sure to take pics of the car, bike, and road where the incident occurred.

    On a side note - when I biked to work on Friday, I was definitely on edge. Hopefully I will be able to bring that down a notch or two as it was actually stressful - and isn't one of the reasons we bike to work to reduce/avoid stress?

  13. #13
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29Clyde
    I had never given two seconds of thought as to what I would/should do in the case of an accident while biking and given how much adrenaline was pumping through my system in the first few minutes after the collision, I was not really in a position to make good decisions.

    On a side note - when I biked to work on Friday, I was definitely on edge. Hopefully I will be able to bring that down a notch or two as it was actually stressful - and isn't one of the reasons we bike to work to reduce/avoid stress?
    That`s very understandable. I haven`t had a serious "bike incedent" since I ran into a parked car on my way to school in about 4th grade, but hopefully I`ll have a general idea of what I should do if I ever find myself in a post accident daze from contemplating the scenes I read about on the forums.

    That`s the biggest reason for me to ride. Hope you start relaxing again- I imagine that will happen.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29Clyde
    I appreciate all of the feedback. In discussing my accident with two friends (one a cop and one a lawyer) ... both told me I was an idiot for not having done so. ...I was not really in a position to make good decisions. ...In this case I did get very lucky ...neither I or my bike suffered any real damage.

    On a side note - when I biked to work on Friday, I was definitely on edge. Hopefully I will be able to bring that down a notch or two as it was actually stressful - and isn't one of the reasons we bike to work to reduce/avoid stress?
    +1 on understandable. Close calls used to be enough to do that to me.

    What I found helped a lot to "mellow" me out was dark (70% cocoa or higher), chocolate. Only a two squares from a 3.5 oz bar was a great help. When I got my diet sorted and BP down, it isn't as bad, but chocolate still works its magic. It is a great source of antioxidants to offset free radicals produced in generating power, too.

    Think of it as anti-dementor medicine, as in Harry Potter.

  15. #15
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    Not to troll, but...

    I wonder if there is a Car forum in which drivers ***** about bicycle commuters? Is the very same driver on another board going "Man, this bike totally pulled out in front of me and I hit him and he rolled up on my hood and broke my window! I'm glas he's okay, but man did it shake me up!"

    Look, I'm not defending the driver, and I'm not laying blame on you, at all. I will say this, though... As a driver, if I hit you, whether it be your fault or mine, I STILL "WIN."

    This is not an attack on the OP or the posters of this thread. But is it ALWAYS the motorists fault? Again, as a driver in a town full of bikers, there is a LOT going on in a car. As a biker, you are exposed to the elements. You can hear a car approaching, see breaks in traffic clearer (you're going slower, usually) and also are much quicker to react. I'm guilty of growing up in a town with almost NO cyclist commuters. Everything was too far away by bike, or seperated by a long length of freeway. It was also not a pedestrian friendly town. I cannot think of ONE crosswalk that wasn't signal protected. Here, on the other hand, it is dominated by peds and bikers. I can think of 8 unprotected crosswalks just on the main street. I have completely had to change the way I drive and my awareness. Cars are huge and often easy to see. Bikers and walkers that move horizontally or diagonally are usually the last things on a drivers mind. It's an oddity. Cars move forwards and backwards. They are big enough to be seen when they move in any other direction (and somehow, there are still thousands of accidents aday, motorist on motorist).

    It's very easy to say "Man, motorists are blind idiots." As commuters, it is our job to be aware of the fact that motorists are often NOT aware, or, they are, and a simple mistake was made.

    In this case, it was a left hand turn. A left hand turn is the most stressful turn to make, for a motorist. You are accelerating across at least one lane of opposing traffic. You are also usually facing another line of opposing traffic for a large majority of a turn. On top of that,, you usually have a car directly to the right of you, blocking a major sight line. On a right hand turn, you can creep forward and see all avenues of approach. A left is very rarely afforded that opportunity.

    I am very glad to see you are okay.

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selftest
    Look, I'm not defending the driver, and I'm not laying blame on you, at all. I will say this, though... As a driver, if I hit you, whether it be your fault or mine, I STILL "WIN."....

    ....It's very easy to say "Man, motorists are blind idiots." As commuters, it is our job to be aware of the fact that motorists are often NOT aware, or, they are, and a simple mistake was made.
    That pretty much sums it up, and I think it was pretty much the same point that the OP was making.

  17. #17
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    It sucks to get hit. I had a somewhat similar incident, but I didn't quite make the windshield. It's jarring stuff. I was on edge for a while after my accident. Sometimes I'd find myself wincing as a cars passed me, and I was extra vigilant at intersections.

    I'm glad you're OK. Next time, definitely get the driver's information. I was lucky at my accident as other people took care of calling the police for me, and the driver stayed put long enough for the police to arrive and give me insurance info. It's hard to gather all those emotions and harness your adrenaline to think clearly.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selftest
    Not to troll, but... . I'm guilty of growing up in a town with almost NO cyclist commuters. Everything was too far away by bike, or seperated by a long length of freeway. It was also not a pedestrian friendly town. I cannot think of ONE crosswalk that wasn't signal protected.

    It's very easy to say "Man, motorists are blind idiots." As commuters, it is our job to be aware of the fact that motorists are often NOT aware, or, they are, and a simple mistake was made.

    I am very glad to see you are okay.
    +1 On OK as I said before.

    Not to troll either... but your old town is my situation, and I've had close calls short of contact. Maybe 3 or 4 of us cycle to work and another 6 cycle for exercise in a town of 9000 with terrible sidewlaks where they do exist. Hard to educate drivers. It isn't a lot of comfort knowing that the drivers aren''t really TRYING to run you down (usually). Throw in distractions like cell phones and screaming kids in the back seat often at the same time, and we have ourselves a situation.

    I have accepted that unless I am very lucky in spite of my best efforts, I too will be posting "It had to happen eventually..." I'd be dead without cycling, so... I takes my chances with a large dollop of caution and hope I don't daydream at an inopportune moment.

    It is only by sheer luck, I am not the OP here. He has my complete support. Ride On!

  19. #19
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    Glad you are ok!
    What did that windshield look like? I am imagining how the driver will explain it to spouse/insurance company/windshield company when they are trying to get it fixed.

  20. #20
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    29Clyde, all these comments got me re-thinking your incident...in retrospect, since you were right there on the dashboard & all, you could have just reached in the glovebox for the insurance & registration.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
    29Clyde, all these comments got me re-thinking your incident...in retrospect, since you were right there on the dashboard & all, you could have just reached in the glovebox for the insurance & registration. ::
    Now that would be what I would call quick thinking on the highest order. Will definitely keep that in mind just in case.........

    Glad you are ok!
    What did that windshield look like? I am imagining how the driver will explain it to spouse/insurance company/windshield company when they are trying to get it fixed.
    At the point of impact which was down low on the passenger side, there was a softball size section that appeared white from the shattered safety glass being held in place by the membrane. There were also cracks running out from that point but I didn't really look at it closely enough to see the full extent of the damage.

  22. #22
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    dude that sucks. what part of DC where you in? I just started riding the new sections of the Metropolitan Branch Trail and it made my commute past NY Ave and North Capitol much safer.

  23. #23
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    Hope you recover fast. I believe you will learn something new from this accident and makes yr future commute much safer.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by huevos
    dude that sucks. what part of DC where you in? I just started riding the new sections of the Metropolitan Branch Trail and it made my commute past NY Ave and North Capitol much safer.
    I live in Rockville and work in Tyson's Corner and only touch the upper reaches of NW DC where I use Chain Bridge to cross the river. The accident happened on Seven Locks Road which is probably the least bike friendly road on my commute - especially on the section where it happened. My bruises are gone and my awareness is up so all is good.

    What is surprising is that after hearing about my accident and seeing a couple of the bruises, I was still able to convince a co-worker to try biking to work. We are going to ride in together tomorrow.

  25. #25
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    Ride on dude.

  26. #26
    Hail Satin!
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    Well be glad that fates warning shot was over the bowe and not between the eyes. I don't live in DC but I do a lot of work there and I know the traffic you speak of. When it gets that bad in Philly. I just jump off and push on the sidewalks till it calms down.
    In the great Ford vs Chevy debate, I choose Porsche.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    Your humbleness is admirable, but in fact it sounds like the driver was absolutely at fault. In the future, it would be best to file a police report and absolutely get the driver's insurance information. At this point, it is probably too late to seek compensation for damages, so I hope you are not more seriously injured, and your bike is ok.

    Best of luck.
    I too wish the rider the best, but the wording of the original post (backed up traffic, more cars - on his route) makes me wonder if he was passing stopped cars on the right...in which case the "absoluteness" of it being the driver's fault is in question. If there were in fact stopped cars leaving a gap for the driver to turn left (in front of them), and a cyclist comes at speed out from behind the line of cars...how is that the driver's fault? This is one of the most dangerous situations on the road for the very reason that the left turning driver cannot see you, and is being enticed by the stopped cars to make his turn. I'm not saying this was the situation, just pondering. If it was an outright left hook and the driver had a clear view of the rider the whole time...different story of course.

    I do pass on the right (in a bike lane) but when I'm crossing a driveway, and notice that the cars I am passing have stopped and left a gap, that will (hopefullly) cause me to proceed with more caution. I've caught myself not realizing the situation a few times on a stretch of my commute which is full of these "opportunities".

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