Finding the Soul to Ride
We all know by now, I was hit by a car two months ago. To this date I haven’t been able to ride on the road. I haven’t mentally been able to prepare myself, or get over the gut wrench that I think about when I think about riding.
I’ve taken the steps. I changed out the saddle, stem and handlebar on a Raleigh Clubman that’s in my garage from a review. Now, swap the pedals and pump up the tires.. it is ready to roll.
Someone please get me on my bike, on the road… block out all the thoughts and feelings that I feel. Get me there. Now.
Where Do You Go Now?
A follow up from a few Friday’s ago..October 1st. The first day of October Two Thousand Ten. 10,01,10.
TGIF – Thank God It’s Friday
That’s what I kept saying to myself a few Friday’s ago. It was the first day of October, which at work meant that all the month end reports, analytics and answers for clients were needed to be finalized.
As I ended my business day, still very proud of myself for working out at lunch, I exchanged my work pants and shoes for cycling mountain bike shoes and cycling knickers. I hopped on my bicycle to ride .5 miles to the bus station.
The weather was phenomenal – the fall in Charlotte, NC is my favorite time of the year. 70º, sunny and blue skies.
Took a left out of the parking lot. Stop at the 4 way intersection. Straight, and then a right hand turn onto South Blvd. Double check the rear Cateye blinky before I go under the Morehead bridge. Under the bridge there is a dark overcast shadow, and an exit ramp of an Interstate. Double checking all angles, cruising through with ease. I smile – it is a great day and a great way to begin the weekend.
Stop at the traffic light
At the intersection of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, I stop at a red light. Time the next light well to roll through easily with the green.
At the intersection of South Caldwell and 3rd Street. This intersection always has cars pulling illegally from the parking lot on the right. Tap the brakes once more as an oncoming car comes to a stop in the left hand lane.
Spot movement at my 11 o’clock. The car that was stopped is now moving, pedal to the metal actually.
Where Do I Go?
I angle my path 45º right in hopes the cars screeching tires will stop the vehicle, in hopes I’m giving the car more room to stop. My path was too far right. There’s a steep curb, there is a car & a curb & I am between them.
Screeching Tires and Yells from Pedestrians
The car didn’t stop in time. The car hit my legs and the rear of my bike. Folding the rear end of my cyclocross bike and back wheel. I quickly bounced from the car to the ground.
Panic and Yells from Pedestrains
Shaking. Multiple people kept me on the ground. Making me lay flat on my back. “Are you okay?”…”What’s your name?”….”Call 911!!”
Fear. I refuse to look at my body. Extreme pain in my left back & hip from hitting the car & asphalt. I see my bike in tangles at my feet.
Shaking. I’m a statistic. I’m yet another person to be hit on a bicycle in the area just this year. I can’t be a statistic. How can I tell people that commuting by bike is safe? I’m not safe. I’m hurt. I’m a statistic.
Alone. I repeatedly make a complete stranger call friends & family. Please, someone answer!
Sirens. More fear.
Confusion. Am I broken? Please call my mom. Where’s my bike going? I’m on the ambulance. Needles and poking. Questions.
More shaking. The ambulance ride is hard, and rough. The ER is responsive, there was a cyclist among the doctors. They made me feel safe for a moment. X-rays. They need Cat Scans they say. Finally, I get through to my girlfriend on the cellphone.
Neck brace, back board and I’m waiting for a Cat Scan. All I can see is the ceiling tiles above my head. There’s screaming. A major car wreck and multiple people needed to get through cat scans. Hearing screaming wasn’t helping my nerves. I tell my nurse to let them go through first. I could wait. One bed pain later, and one hour later.. I’m still waiting.
Catscan. Finally two guys there that have personality that help give me the catscan. They talk to me like I’m human.
Family and friends. My girlfriend and boss find me soon. The morphine drip is wearing off. Drugs, wheel chairs and finding my bicycle in the utility closet of the hospital parking lot.
They give me more drugs. I’m trying not to think. The car drive makes me panicked. I no longer feel safe outside of my four walls.
My mom arrives at what I think was 3am.
I’m a statistic yet again. My freedom is not mine. My legs are not my own.
Where do I go from here?
(No spell check or grammar check here.)
Another Bicyclist Hit in Charlotte, NC
In the beginning of July I reported on a bicycle accident that happened less than 8 miles from my house. A woman had been hit while training for a local triathlon on a very popular road for cyclist. One thing that I failed to update everyone was a woman (on the same triathlon course pre-riding) was cut off, by a car trying to park, going through our small college town. She received trauma to the head and road rash.
It Happened Again
Photo Credit : Richard Kirkman & DavidsonNews
This past Thursday, on the same triathlon course (AGAIN) a gentleman named Bill Doherty was cut off by a large box truck and pulled 50-75 feet under the truck.
This is how it was described to me by the witness. Billy was keeping pace with traffic at the time, so he was probably doing 30+ mph. His Garmin showed the last recording at 28.7, but that was as he was being pulled under the truck. The truck drive partially passed Billy and then swung into the road with no indication etc, that is about 200 yards before the creek on Rocky River road just outside of River Run. Bill left a black tire mark about 5 yards before impact, so that alone shows how close he was. He was dragged for about 40-70 yds under the truck, and while under the truck he was grabbing onto anything for dear life, including the drive shaft. The driver only stopped because the witness was making him stop by his horn I think. The driver of the truck was about to reverse over Billy’s head, and the witness stepped in again and stopped that. So the real hero for this is the witness. His name is Don ***** from Michael Waltrip racing. Very humble man who has contacted me numerous times since last night to see how Billy is. Billy lost consciousness for about 1-3 minutes under the truck I believe as well.
The main premise in all this is driver didn’t even clear Billy when he turned. – CharlotteVelo.com
What Do We Do?
The local cycling community is cursing, loudly, and rightfully so. We’ve had more accidents in the past 6 months than the 5 years that I’ve lived in the area. Does anyone have experience with setting up a local advocacy group, or how to properly educate and maintain the bridge between cyclist and automobiles?