I’m not much for drama, so I want to state right up front that I’m okay and–more importantly–my bike is okay. I’m a little scraped up and sore this morning, but nothing’s broken.
I always think it’s odd when someone is involved in an accident like the one I had yesterday and people say to him or her, “You were very lucky!” I figure lucky people don’t get hit by trucks in the first place. However, when you watch the video footage of the wreck I think it’s safe to say that I was, relatively speaking, very lucky. I could have easily been killed.
I’ll explain what happened, and then post the video footage and pictures…
It was a beautiful morning, and I decided to do a solo metric century at a pretty good pace. The 104 kilometer (65 mile) route I selected is one I’ve done before, and I know the roads well.
I spent the first 32 kilometers (20 miles) or so warming up, averaging 21 mi/h (33.8 km/h).
Just past mile 20 there’s a nice long 18 kilometer (a little over 11 miles) stretch along a great road called highway 42. At that point I was well warmed up, and I decided to hit that entire 18 kilometer section of road pretty hard. I wasn’t looking to break any wattage PRs, but I wanted to work.
I averaged a 40.4 km/h (25.1 mi/h) on that stretch of road, and put out an average of 287 watts. My average heart rate was 177 BPM. So, I was working, but not even close to the ragged edge (I could sustain a little over that level of effort for more than an hour). I only mention this because it’s important to know that I was not so destroyed that I wasn’t thinking clearly.
Anyway, as I completed the 18 kilometer interval, I was definitely ready for a few minutes of active recovery, but still feeling quite good.
At this point I had a lefthand turn to make onto SE Highway 450. As I approached the intersection, I turned and looked behind me to see if it was clear. There was a truck approaching, but it was far enough away that I could safely take the lane.
When I need to make a turn at a busy intersection, I always do the same thing: I double check to make sure I’m clear, I stand up on my pedals to make myself as visible as possible and, arm fully outstretched and pointing at an upward angle, I indicate the direction of my upcoming turn. I continue to hold that signal as I do what’s called “taking the lane”, which is simply moving to control the traffic lane before the turn is made.
As I began to make my turn, the truck behind me accelerated, crossed the double yellow line and attempted to illegally pass me on the left at the intersection. I slammed into the truck, and physics took over from there.
Thankfully the driver stopped. The entire event was captured on my Garmin Virb camera. Here it is, fully unedited and raw (I did add subtitles when the audio was not clear):
In reviewing the footage I must concede that I should have taken the lane more aggressively. That doesn’t make the driver any less at fault, but I don’t care about being “right”, I care about being as safe as possible.
Bouncing off the concrete is never fun, but all things considered I got off very light. If I’d been just a foot further ahead of the truck I would have been hit straight on. I also could have been hit by other vehicles after I went down, or wound up under the truck that hit me.
After the wreck I took a little time to carefully check my bike over. The wheels were both rubbing the brake pads (you can hear this in the video as I move my bike off the road), but they were not out of true and only needed to be reset in the dropouts.
My left handlebar was bent in, and the bars had twisted around. I had the tools with me to straighten the bars out, and did so.
Because I fell on my left side, my derailleur hanger was spared! There appeared to be absolutely no physical damage to the frame or components. My bike was safe to ride.
I called my wife and my mom (both of whom follow my rides on Garmin LiveTrack) to let them know that I was okay. Lisa wanted to come get me, but I really wanted to complete the ride (I had about 30 miles to go at that point). I told her I’d call if I could not continue, but I was going to roll on.
I think the bars hit my knees, because my knees were aching pretty good for the remainder of the ride. The worst part, though, was the giant blister that had formed on my left hand. It rapidly filled with fluid, and I could not grab my bars without experiencing a tremendous amount of pain and pressure.
I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of road rides, and I’ve not worn gloves on 3 of them. Well, wouldn’t ya know it, but yesterday was one of those three days. It’s actually sort of funny in an ironic way.
Anyway, I’m okay, and will be riding today. Sore, but riding.
Cyclists, stay safe out there! Motorists, please be patient and careful. A few seconds is not worth a human life.
The entire ride with all data can be found here.