Saturday, August 16, 2008

Head-On Collision.

June 11th, 2008
Luna at Northwest Hwy
Exact time unknown

Last night I was riding with the Carrollton Cycling Club on the usual Monday-Wednesday ride. We had already headed south down Luna and turned left onto the service road to go underneath Northwest Highway. I was sitting on the front left and, as we rounded under NW Hwy I was consciously looking through the corner for any possible oncoming traffic. I knew that spot could be bad, and was trying to keep things safe. Suddenly, and I mean truly suddenly, a car appeared. It was traveling quickly, in our lane and at the apex of the corner. I think we were probably traveling at about 18 mph, I have no idea how fast he was going, but it seemed fairly quick.


I barely reacted. No sooner had I seen the car... he hit me head-on. I was awake throughout, never lost consciousness, and distinctly remember hitting the windshield, rolling and then landing in a heap on the road. I think I might have bounced, I'm not sure. I would like to know if I went up and over the roof or not, as I lost track of my progress in all the commotion. I did an inventory as best I could and was sure not to move in any way. I was pretty certain I had broken my right clavicle, ankle and leg but the inventory process was not going smoothly. I had a lot of pain, but nothing distinct as I have had with broken bones in the past. Within seconds I had several great people at my side talking to me and making certain I was as safe as possible. One gentleman in a CCC jersey, and a woman I never saw (bad angle) were instrumental in keeping me calm and making sure I was in good hands. If either of you see this through the grapevine, thank you! Will S. called my wife, Betty, and filled her in on what happened and that I was being taken to Parkland. A few well-timed, humorous comments later (Will: "Nice, your mouth never touched the bottle!" and Andrew: "I think we should look at that Cervelo Prodigy on CraigsList...") and I was being tended to by Fire Station 43. Nice guys, and they're cyclists! They loaded me onto the backboard, seat belted me in place and into the ambulance I went for a little journey.


Once at Parkland I was tended to by at least six doctors and nurses. X-rays, cat scans and more x-rays later I was left to wait for results. Betty was there and she was great. She's a real trooper and one of her first comments when she walked in the room was, "I knew something like this would happen, but I thought you might wait a little longer!" Her mom and brother dropped by as well and it was good to have some friendly faces. I joked as much as I could with the nurses and doctors but, understandably enough, they were less than enthusiastic about my situation. Slowly, the adrenaline wore off and the pain started to set in at more distinct locations. My left quad was aching along with my right foot, ankle and shoulder. I had a headache but never showed signs of a concussion. Results took forever, but we learned that I had no broken bones, no damage to my spine and no internal injuries. I had, in essence, gotten extremely lucky. I was released at 2 AM and we were soon home for a few photos and a bowl of Cheerios.


This morning we inspected my helmet, which showed surprisingly few signs of impact. The back of the helmet does have some cracks, but I was a bit astonished that I had not taken a larger hit with my head. Of course, the helmet is instantly retired. My jersey had been cut off, but I had managed to talk them into leaving my shorts, gloves, shoes and socks intact. I believe my exact request was, "Those are expensive, can we not use scissors?"


Today has been slow going. I'm feeling pretty decent considering the situation and am still taking inventory of pain, especially in my neck and shoulders. The bike is toast. Actually, the bike is beyond toast, it is more like a crumpet. The front tire is buried in the large chain ring, the top tube having buckled at the head tube and seat tube. The down tube split, at the weld, from the head tube. And, to top it all off, the rear wheel was ejected from the frame on impact. The bars are spun 90 degrees to the fork and the seat and levers are scuffed and marred. Oh, and the Campy carbon crank set is cracked around the spindle. Yeah, that was one hell of a hit.


So, that's the long and short of it. Photos with captions are linked below. They are not too bloody, but a little graphic of my shoulder injury.

I guess the lesson here is to just be safe, watch out for each other and remain aware. Looking back on how it happened I think it should have been a lot worse. I don't know how I got that lucky, but I did.

Another rider was hit as well, but I do not know him. I think he hit the car with his shoulder and split his fork in half, but I think I saw him walking around so I do hope he is OK. If you know him, please tell him I send my best.

Part 1: Time to Rebuild

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2 Comments:

At 9:39 PM, Blogger . said...

Wow...you were indeed blessed or lucky, or both!

Did they get the dude, or did he take off?

Heal well amigo!

DallasBikr/Kevin

 
At 1:32 PM, Anonymous pkirkey said...

Wow! I'm glad that you're ok. My husband and I were hit by a car while riding tandem...not fun.

I didn't see an email link on your page, so I'm just going to put this information here along with my email address for you to contact me; my husband races (bicycles) where we currently live, in Jacksonville, FL. We are in the process of relocating to TX and both of us will be working in the Las Colinas/DFW area. I was looking through some of your blogs and pictures and see that you also race and rock climb and live in Carrollton?

We only recently discovered Carrollton (have been looking in the NRH area) and it seems to have everything we're looking for in a place to live. My husband will be making a trip out there tonight to check it out (I'm still in FL right now). If you dont mind sharing, in what part of Carrollton do you live (I've read mixed reviews of the area), and what do you think the commute would be like to DFW? Also, with exception to your current situation, how is the cycling in Carrollton? Are there fast race rides that take place regularly? What about mountain biking nearby? We also rock climb (climbing walls only right now) as well as kayak and I do triathlons. Are there many younger active people in Carrollton? My husband has 2 children that will be staying with us during the holidays and summers so being in a community with children (they are 9 and 13) is needed as well.

My email address is pkirkey@clearwire.net.

Thanks for your help, and I wish you a speedy recovery...oh, and a new bike;-)

 

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