Today I went out for a typical Saturday bike ride. Although I was a little disappointed with the unseasonable chilly weather, I eventually warmed up and started to get into the ride. Then, about 3/4 into the workout, I crashed.
It happened at Clifton & Warren in Lakewood. I was moving East at around 21mph through the intersection while an SUV coming West was in the turning lane, ready to turn. There is no stop sign at this intersection, therefore I clearly had the right-of-way so I didn’t stop or slow down. All of a sudden the SUV makes the turn. I slam on the breaks to avoid hitting it, the bike flips forward and I’m on the pavement while the SUV drives off.
I blacked out for only a few seconds then made my way to the sidewalk. I didn’t realize how bad I was and for a second contemplated getting back on the bike to ride home, but I didn’t know which way to go. A few people passed by and asked if I was OK and needed help. Someone had called 911 and a cop quickly showed up. I was having trouble talking to him so he called a medic. My blood pressure was high (looking at my workout data, it went from 144 bpm before the crash to 185 bpm right after) and at first I wasn’t remembering things so they put me on a board with a neck brace and took me to Fairview Hospital. In the ambulance I started to remember things and became more cognisant.
The nurses cleaned up my face while a doctor examined me. He used three sutures to close up a cut in my eyebrow and ordered a CT scan of my head and spine to make sure there was no brain bleeding, broken bones or misalignment. The CT came back showing there were no major problems and I was discharged hours later. All and all, I ended up with some bad bruises on my face and back as well as a cut in my eyebrow. Thankfully, I was wearing a helmet. If I wasn’t, things probably would have been a lot worse! WEAR A HELMET!
Drivers need to realize that cyclists follow the same rules of the road as drivers. I realize that some don’t, and that’s their fault. But unless this driver was distracted and didn’t see me, they likely thought I was supposed to stop for them. This exact situation has happened to me a few times before, although in the past I was able to stop or move out of the way. In one instance, the driver actually gave me the finger for not stoping for him.
Unfortunately this driver will likely get away with it. But if the witness did get the plate number, the driver could be charged with a hit-and-run. I had actually contemplated putting my GoPro on my handelbars facing forward prior to the ride but ended up rushing out the door and not doing it. I was I had, then I would have got the plate on camera (and have some cool footage to share!).
I’m sharing this story in hopes that it plays a tiny part in raising awareness. More people are using bikes, especially in urban areas, and we all just need to share the road. Just this past week Chef Jonathon Sawyer made local headlines when he was clipped by a city bus while on his bike, thankfully he was ok. Its unfortunate that it takes people actually getting hit for this conversation to happen, but I’m glad it’s happening. Ironically, I actually responded to Channel 5 reporter Kristin Volk on Twitter a few days ago sharing this same situation. She was asking for examples of drivers not sharing the road. Little did I know it would happen again today resulting in a crash.