Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My first accident...

First off, I did not get hurt at all, and my bike was undamaged.  That said, it was still pretty scary as it happened.  Here's the story:

Last Saturday I was out for my long ride and heading back home.  I was coming to an intersection and had to stop for a red light.  I was in my bike lane, and everything was normal.

After a minute or two, the light turned green for me, so I checked both directions and headed across the intersection.  As I was approaching the center of the intersection, I noticed a car in the right hand turn lane that looked like it might not be stopping for red light before making the turn through my lane.  I tried to slow quickly but was did not want to leave the bike lane as I did not have any idea what was coming from behind in the regular traffic lanes.

Sure enough, the old lady in the car apparently didn't see me and rolled right on through the red light and turned straight into my lane.  At this point I had no choice but to either get hit by her or veer out of the bike path to avoid her, which is exactly what I did.  I was now pretty much right next to her, and thinking that she would surely see me and slow down to avoid me, but I was wrong.  Instead, she kept coming through the bike lane and into the right-most car lane, basically barging into me from the side.

At this point I was really scared that she was going to push me over to my left into a lane of traffic to get run over by another car, so instead I figured I'd lean into her car to stay upright.  My right pedal surely dented her door as she continued to push me into the right-most car lane.  I actually watched as my whole bike skidded diagonally sideways, but I managed to grab onto the roof of her car and stay with the wheels under me.

At this point, I was basically 12 inches from her, clutching the top of her car with my right hand for dear life and rolling along at the same speed she was going.  It was at this point that she finally noticed my and came to a stop.  I got off my bike and got my composure, but I was surprisingly less freaked out than I thought I would be.  I had not been hurt, and a quick inspection of my bike showed that it was unharmed as well.  I was most concerned about the wheels since my guess is they were not designed for this sort of thing, but they both spun true.

The lady said she saw the two cyclist that were standing on the sidewalk waiting for the walk sign (that seems like a description of pedestrians with bikes), but she did not notice me actually riding my bike through the intersection.  I guess that just goes to show that there can be more than one group of cyclists out at any given time and at the same intersection, so don't stop looking after you see the first group!

After I got home, I noticed that I had finished my ride with the grime from her filthy car door all over my leg:

And looking at this photo, I realize there was one thing was damaged during my "crash": that dark smudge of dirt on my brand new Smartwool sock didn't come out completely in the wash.  I guess I should have gotten her insurance information.

Oh well...


  1. Wow, were you lucky! Did this woman feel terrible, or what? I would have been so apologetic. Was she elderly, or just has blinders on? If it was dusk, or dark, it's easy to happen, I guess. So happy that you weren't hurt and had the presence of mind to hold on like you did.

  2. It was bright daylight, and she felt very bad. Fortunately, she did not hurt me so I guess no harm, no foul.

  3. Drivers always tend to forget that they are not the only one on the road. Didn’t she check her side mirrors? Luckily you weren’t injured, not even bruise but just a smudge of dirt on your brand new Smartwool sock. Drivers should pay attention to their surrounding too!

    -Raleigh Crowl