Unfortunate Collision [long story]

General bike chat that does not fit elsewhere
grechzoo
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 21:33 pm

Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby grechzoo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:27 am

It began early in the morning, a commute I was used to at this point; 12.5 miles from Reading to Bracknell. Away from the major roads, past some greenery and farm land, and through the undeniably pungent aromas that always bring an extra spring into my legs.

There was no time to be beaten, no competition with myself other than to get to the office in time to shower and begin the 9-5 vacuum of dull screen staring that I have since resigned from. (A matter unrelated to this story, which makes me wonder why I see fit to include it…. :wink: )

Anyway, the ride was quite comfortable, which was rare, so my smile was wide as I was able to gage my improving fitness with real evidence instead of blind self-assurance. Beginner milestone aside, that grin wouldn’t last the journey.

Mile 10 presented me with the first main road of my commute, as it does daily, usually with the crass greeting of queued cars. This morning however, I was given the opportunity to enjoy the long decline into an empty roundabout, which is always a pretty sight. The steep incline that follows, usually the bully that piles punches into my strained heart by the top, wasn’t looking so tough now that I had miraculously been allowed to retain my downhill speed. So I attacked it with glee.

This is where everything stopped. A rattling feeling in my bones stands as my clearest memory of the collision. It felt as if my CAAD 8 snapped in half. It took me a while to realise I was on the ground, and had been for upwards of 10 seconds.

At this point my body seemed to replace the blood in my veins with adrenaline and I jumped to my feet, to see what I already knew; I had ran into a pedestrian, at a speed that I couldn’t venture to guess without feeling sick.
I felt like a entered a nightmare with what I saw when I rose to my feet. The man, a mid-fifties Hungarian was lying on the ground, with his eyes wide open, not moving at all, with a pool of blood under his head. A few people have told me that, “You can’t kill someone with a bike.” But dumb statement aside, it’s true that my bike was not the only culprit, although I wasn’t exactly channelling Sherlock Holmes in that moment.

The reason I did not see this collision coming, and the subsequent reason this poor man experienced a frightening head wound was because of a hefty crane-lorry hybrid vehicle that was parked up on the pavement, and by extension half of the left side of the road.

As I would later find out, the victim was looking left (as he would in his home country), not right, before walking out from behind this vehicle, and so both of us had no awareness of each other, until of course we were brought together by way of an ungainly mess.

Between my endless self-expletives, and frenzied state of mind, I was still able to find that rapidly shrinking part of my brain that held common sense, and got hold of my phone, calling for an ambulance as I was taking off my jersey, which would be used to compress the bleeding.

It wouldn’t be long before he responded to me as well as a handful of brilliant people who had offered their help. And after a colossal group effort to get the man sitting up, we waiting side by side, with my jersey wrapped hand applying pressure to his head for fifteen minutes as the ambulance made its way.

What followed was an alarming standard procedure where they strapped up the Hungarian as if he has been run over by a 20-ton truck, a shatteringly cold ambulance ride, a check-up, a 4 hour waiting room stay that would have me beating myself up mentally until I had no energy left, good news that would allow me to breathe properly again, and a visit filled with apologies and smiles that allowed me to go home that day without any lingering worries.

Oh and finally a lot of sleep.

--------

Sorry for the long story, it was the only way I could communicate the incident properly. I guess the point of this is that I'm not riding as much as I used to, which could maybe be partly blamed on winter, but I wanted to share, and hopefully get your stories and advice on an accident like this and impact it has on your cycling.

Thanks for reading this long post. You are a trooper :D .

~
Grech
Last edited by grechzoo on Sat Jul 13, 2013 22:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bikes: CAAD8 105, CAAD10 105.

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Bustacapp
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 13:37 pm

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby Bustacapp » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:07 am

grechzoo wrote:good news that would allow me to breathe properly again, and a visit filled with apologies and smiles that allowed me to go home that day without any lingering worries.


By this do you mean he decided not to prosecute?

TakeTurns
Posts: 998
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:31 am

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby TakeTurns » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:30 am

Goodness me, for a second you had me thinking the guy had died! Glad that things turned out to be Ok. Good job with the jersey...I wouldn't have thought of that.

Things like this are simply unavoidable. There are always vehicles blocking the view etc, but we can't assume that behind every vehicle is a middle aged man unaware of the directional flow of the traffic.

What state was your bike in?

grechzoo
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 21:33 pm

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby grechzoo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:44 am

Bustacapp wrote:By this do you mean he decided not to prosecute?

My relief was that no major damage was done, only stitches, (plus I was not in the state to think or care about possible charges.) Also his son who translated for him, he explained the situation (when I finally was allowed in to see them), about his father looking left, so they held no blame for me at all. They were actually asking if I was okay, very kind people.

Also there was an extremely nice police officer involved who made the same assessment. He took care of my bike when I went in the ambunce, and gave me a lift home after all day at the hostpial. So the day definitely gave me a lot of faith in the NHS and the Berkshire police.

TakeTurns wrote:What state was your bike in?

The bike had a bent front wheel, I took it into a LBS, they replaced the wheel (RS10) and said everything else was fine, including the forks, which I was suprised about. My Helmet was almost caved in though, I must have hit my head on the vehicle as well (dont have any memory of it), but the helmet did its job amazingly. Bought the exact same one as a replacement. (Giro Monza)
Bikes: CAAD8 105, CAAD10 105.

danowat
Posts: 2830
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 13:58 pm

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby danowat » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:54 am

Did you notice the pedestrian before you collided?

grechzoo
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 21:33 pm

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby grechzoo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:11 pm

danowat wrote:Did you notice the pedestrian before you collided?

Honestly, its hard to remember exactly. I'm sure I noticed a figure because I had a horrible feeling before finding myself on the floor, but it had to be miliseconds, as there no time to do anything but crash unfortunately.
Bikes: CAAD8 105, CAAD10 105.

Buckie2k5
Posts: 595
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 21:38 pm

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby Buckie2k5 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:21 pm

pedestrian should feel lucky it wasnt a car that hit him. no doubt he has learned to look right now.

danowat
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Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 13:58 pm

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby danowat » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:31 pm

I've had very similar incidents, people just don't (yes, its wrong) expect to have vehicles at speed coming along that are silent, that, combined with the fact you were probably "making progress" meant that neither of you had time to react.
Just be mindfull of a) your speed and ability to stop at that speed, and b) your surroundings, there are times when the speeds that we can reach on cycles isn't appropriate.

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thegreatdivide
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:12 am

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby thegreatdivide » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:42 pm

Quite a story! Glad you're both OK.
"Crevaison sur les paves..."

grechzoo
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 21:33 pm

Re: Unfortunate Collision [long story]

Postby grechzoo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:51 pm

Buckie2k5 wrote:pedestrian should feel lucky it wasnt a car that hit him. no doubt he has learned to look right now.

Exactly what the police officer said, but I dont take any comfort personally for obvious reasons.

danowat wrote:Just be mindfull of a) your speed and ability to stop at that speed, and b) your surroundings, there are times when the speeds that we can reach on cycles isn't appropriate.

For sure it was a massive lesson learned. I didn't remotely consider the crazy blindspots that giant vehicle was creating, I was too excited about flying up a nasty hill to think about it. A mistake that I won'tmake again.
Bikes: CAAD8 105, CAAD10 105.


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