Well, it’s been two weeks since my accident, and I seem to be healing nicely.
Anyhow, now that I’m pretty sure there’s no long-term damage, here’s what happened. As I said last week, I decided to ride one block of my commute on the super-busy route 11/15.
Here’s my artistic rendition of the roadway. 11/15 is a two-laner, with a turning lane in the middle. There are fairly wide shoulders.
I needed to go north around the park, then make a left onto the side street. I didn’t feel like fooling around with crossing traffic twice, so I did something a bicyclist is never-ever supposed to do: I rode against traffic.
Here is a diagram of the situation. The southbound lane is stacked full of green pick-up trucks heading south into Harrisburg. I am the rotund, bright yellow, bicyclist heading north in the shoulder of the south bound lane.
My intention was to turn onto the side street. There was also a car waiting to make a right onto the highway (indicated by the red pick-up truck). Our respective intended paths of travel are indicated by the dashed lines.
Note that our intended plans of travel intersect. This is a bad thing, and is why you are never, ever supposed to ride against traffic. The driver of the red truck was looking to her left, waiting for an opening in the traffic. As I approached the intersection, my spidey-sense was tingling slightly, but I didn’t see any opening in the traffic that would have allowed her pull out in front of me, so I went for it.
Evidently, there was a small opening in traffic. Without turning to look the other way, she stomped on the gas just as I was crossing in front of her.
Her passenger-side front quarter panel hit me with a force that was totally amazing given that she only had about 5 feet in which to accelerate. I was knocked off my bike, and hit the pavement pretty hard.
The aftermath was that my front quick-release skewer snapped in half, my front fork was twisted in a strange and unnatural configuration, and my seat and seatpost rotated 90 degrees anti-clockwise.
I’ll spare you all the gory details, but suffice it to say I do not recommend anyone try to rotate your seat post with your butt. Parts of you will turn purple that you don’t want purple.
A few days later, I noticed that the steel rails of my Brooks Flyer saddle were actually twisted in a cork-screw kind of fashion. I shudder to think what might have happened had I not been riding a sprung saddle.
Apart from saddle trauma, I had two nice symmetrical top-tube bruises on my thighs, (one from the impact of the car, and one from the impact with the ground) and various minor scrapes and bruises all over the place.
Overall, I was very, very lucky.
A few people have asked me if I plan to ask the driver to pay for the damages to my bike, and for my medical expenses.
I do not. I consider the accident to be “mutual at fault.” My fault for riding on the wrong side of the road, and her fault for not looking when pulling out into traffic.
My bike sustained about $300 worth of damage, and my medial expenses amount to a $15 co-pay.
Considering that I easily could have been seriously injured, killed, or castrated, $315 is not a very big deal in the grand scheme of things.
Most of the swelling has gone down, and the purple parts are less purple now. If the weather is cooperative, I think I might go out for a short ride this weekend, and get a late start on my new year’s resolution to ride more, to commute more, and to always ride on the right side of the road.