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My First Bike Crash

August 9, 2012

Post hospital visit. Lucky to be smiling. All cleaned up and on drugs.

It happened.  I had my first bike crash.  I went to the hospital to get checked out, and have no broken bones or stitches to my name.  I am sore, have road rash, and am nervous for my next ride, but it could have been so much worse.

Jeremy and I were less than 2 miles from home riding south on highway 101 when it happened.  Leucadia is one of the most dangerous areas we ride in because there are cars parked along the highway, there’s a lot of traffic, pedestrians, restaurants and shops, and there are NO bike lanes.

Jeremy was riding right behind me, as usual, to protect me from the cars as they squeezed by us.  I always slow down when I see a car easing out into the intersection from the side streets in case they don’t see me.  This was a different scenario, however, and I didn’t have time to anticipate what happened next.

A car was approaching from the opposite direction on the 101.  It slowed down to turn left, but DIDN’T STOP and started turning in front of me.

In a split second, the car was turning in front of me/at me because it did not see me.  I instinctively slammed on both brakes and did a front flip over my handlebars and landed in the road.  My bike landed on top of me.  Then Jeremy ran into me and over me because he couldn’t stop in time.  The only thing that didn’t hit me was the car because the driver saw us at that point.  THANK GOD.

As soon as it was over, I was confused to see Jeremy on the ground ahead of me.  He was getting up and looked OK but concerned for me.  My next thoughts were “Ironman,” and then “Bike.” (Apparently this was all going through my mind as I was moaning and sobbing in the street.)  As soon as I realized I could walk, I ran/hobbled out of the intersection and onto the grass because I was afraid of getting hit by a car.

By that time, Jeremy was next to me, and so was the driver of that vehicle and the driver of another vehicle.  I’ll spare you with the details, but I was sobbing and making a lot of whimpering noises from the pain and from fear.  Did I break anything?  Were we OK?  Jeremy consoled me and said that the white sticking out of my elbow was not bone and not to worry.

The driver said she didn’t see us.  She was very apologetic.  She didn’t slam on her brakes until I was already mid-air flip, and by then it was too late for me.  I know now that it wasn’t a good time of day for us to be riding because it had just turned to dusk, so that didn’t help matters.  Timing is everything.

When we declined calling an ambulance and said he would drive me to the hospital himself, the women packed up our bikes and drove us home.  I got the driver’s contact information in case we need anything.   I’m so used to hearing about hit and runs.  She didn’t even hit me, but she stopped to check on us which I greatly appreciate.

Jeremy drove me to the nearest hospital, and I spent a few hours there getting examined, X-rayed, and cleaned up.  No concussion. No broken bones. No stitches. (Close to stitches on the elbow. I am missing a chunk of skin there, so I think I might start shaving my arms to avoid such bad road rash if I ever crash again!)  Jeremy didn’t want to get examined so he just sat with me.  Luckily his injuries were not as bad as mine.

I’m not angry at the driver or at myself.  Perhaps I could have laid on the front brake less and avoided a front flip, but when you are in “fight or flight” mode, you aren’t thinking like that.  I honestly thought I was going to get hit, and I am grateful that this accident wasn’t worse.  I am not being dramatic when I say that I fear for my life every time I get on my bike because I hear of too many cycling fatalities.  I also have friends who have been seriously injured in bike accidents.  It’s common to break your collarbone or elbow doing what I did.  I am very lucky I didn’t.

In the future, I’m going to avoid riding at dusk and hopefully avoiding riding on that stretch of the 101 until they put a bike lane in.  (Rumor has it that it was just approved to put bike lanes in over there!)  I will also start riding with gloves again because my palms have gnarly road rash.  I don’t want to be terrified of my bike because I still have a lot of Ironman training left to go.  Hopefully I can be brave.

Now I just need to relax and embrace recovery mode so I can start Ironman training again.  The only part of my body that feels like it might be worse off than cuts and bruises is my left shoulder, so I am going to work on it while I recover.  Coach Trevor gave me some mobility exercises to do at home.

I’m happy I didn’t sign up for Ironman Canada which is only 17 days away…Ironman Cozumel is about 15 weeks away which will allow me time to heal and ramp up my training again.  I have a half marathon in 11 days so hopefully I can still run that??


Next up are pics of my injury.  If you don’t like images of blood, you should stop reading here…


….I’m warning you.  They are gross.


Ok here’s a couple that aren’t too bad…

Elbow pre-treatment.  gross, right? You can’t see it here, but the cut is deep, and it looks like I have a hole in my elbow now.

Action shot of them scrubbing my road rash

I have more, but that’s all I really need to share.

Have you ever been in a bike accident?  How long did you wait before you got up and tried again?

  1. Jason permalink

    Yikes! Glad you are ok, I am always super cautious when driving near bikers because there is so much that can go wrong so quickly in those situations. I had a pretty bad crash about five years back, ending up in the ditch and somehow not breaking my leg after it getting stuck under the bike while landing…it took me a few days for my leg to feel good enough to ride again another week or so before I felt fully confident in getting back on the wheels. Be strong!

    • That sounds scary! Glad you weren’t hurt too badly! I am also very very cautious driving around cyclists. So many things can go wrong.

  2. So glad you are safe!!!!

  3. This is my biggest fear. I still am terribly uncomfortable riding on roads and rarely do it (and only on slow traffic times in a group). We have great trails in Iowa, but they are mostly flat so I fear I’ll have to get brave and try more roads to get the hill training I need. I am glad your accident wasn’t worse. Get well soon, I’m looking forward to reading about your recovery!

    • Thank you! Hopefully you can continue to ride safely in Iowa and get on the roads more as you gain more confidence! It’s pretty hard to avoid traffic in San Diego on the long rides, unfortunately.

  4. triathlonobsession permalink

    Ouch! I did a very similar thing 2 years ago on a tune up ride the day before a race. I did get stiches from slicing my ear and couldn’t swim for a few weeks (nor could I do the race!). You have to hop right on as soon as possible and work through the fear–especially since you’re prepping for Ironman. Physically you’re fine, but mentally took a little while to work through as I found myself being extra cautious. And I got a tune-up! 🙂 Hope it’s not too painful!

    • You poor thing! That sounds terrible. I agree that it will take me a while mentally to regain my confidence on the bike. I’m getting back on the trainer tomorrow, and will get outside again sometime after that. Pain is temporary…Pride is forever!

  5. Glad you are OK. I’ve had three crashes (I prefer to call them “unplanned dismounts”) in the past ten years, but so far the only thing I’ve hurt has been my pride.

  6. OMG – this is so frightening! The good news is you and Jeremy are ok – phew. Glad you’re safe.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Bad Things Come in Threes « San Diego Fitness Diva
  2. Still Ironman Training « San Diego Fitness Diva

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