June 20, 2007 at 3:56 pm (Personal)

Or, more to the point, busted up.
Note #1: Long post coming up, as accident reports usually are.
Note #2: Wrote this while waiting in the ER, six hours after getting there.

Tuesday, mid-afternoon, General Hospital ER:
I’ve been injury-free for the past few years, thankfully, but of course it couldn’t last.

I was riding my bike to work this morning, making good time, enjoying the ride, when every cyclist’s nightmare occurs: just as I’m riding past a parked City of Montreal truck, the driver’s side door opens. I have just enough time to swerve, thereby not ending up flying throught the door window. What I failed to do, however, was to completely avoid the door, so that the side of truck door clipped my handlebars, with the expected results.

“Shit, this is gonna hurt,” went through my mind, as I was heading face- and shoulders-first toward the pavement. (Clipless pedals, I love ’em so much that I want to have their babies, but they don’t always release.) As I’m sliding on the pavement, all the loose pebbles embedding themselves into my calf, I barely have time to realise that it isn’t too bad.

What I didn’t have the time for, unfortunately, was to see, and get out of the way of, the car driving behind me. And she, the driver, didn’t have the time to get out of the way either. Everything happened so fast then, as I saw/felt the front wheel of the car drive over my back tire (ouch!) and the process repeat itself as her back wheel followed suit.

Did I mention that I was still pinned under the bike? I remember watching the car bounce, I remember trying to pull myself out of the way. I might have whiplashed into the side of the car, which might explain why the left side of my body is incredibly sore today, but I don’t know for sure. Time kind of slowed down then. I saw the car come to a stop further ahead, I’m lying in the middle of the road, pinned under the bike. I’m trying to move, but my body doesn’t seem to respond.

There’s no real pain anywhere, but my left arm is still stuck behind me. “How ruined is my bike anyhow” I’m thinking, “when it’s both over my right leg and behind me?” Silly me, the bike isn’t on my leg any more, it’s just that my leg is the part that absorbed most of the trauma, and nerves are giong wild-simply-wild over me. I perform a quick, subconscious scan of my body (I’ve gotten use to doing that), but nothing is really screaming. However, something tells me that I won’t be standing up and riding away from this. So, instead, I lie there, hoping no other cars come along and drive over me again.

Someone comes up, I think the city worker, to ask if I’m okay. “911” is pretty much all I can squeak (they’ve already been called), and go back to trying to get out from under the bike. More folks approach, hands to their mouths, making me wonder just how badly screwed up I am. I’m not screaming, I’m not talking, I’m just waiting for something worse to happen, for the bones to start complaining that they don’t appreciate being broken thankyouverymuch.

Another cyclist stops by, and tells me that she’s a first responder. Well, that’s a bit of a relief, someone to take charge. The city worker, perhaps according to protocol, is back by the truck. I’m guessing, because I haven’t seen him any more. So, the first responder checks me over, and it’s pretty much what I suspected: my right leg is fucked, but that’s about it.

Things get weird just about now. This crazy lady comes along, skirt flapping high in the wind, proclaims to ask and sundry that she’s a doctor, has been for 27 years, and is here to save the day. Feels me up, gives my breasts an extra-special squeeze, undoes my belt, checks my alertness level and that’s about it. But, like I said, there’s a weirdness going on, and I’m looking forward to the ambulance guys coming along and getting me out of there. Which they thankfully do. Come along, that is.
So off goes crazy doctor lady, but not before bending over me, skirt still flying wildly all over, and kisses me! Both cheeks! BAD TOUCH! OOOO, bad touch! Who does that?!?

I’m still worried about my bike, which is still lying in the road behind me, but the nice (and sane!) cyclist/first responder volunteers to take care of it for me. I hand her my U-lock (it was in my pack, which is under me), and she goes off and locks it to a parking meter. Thank dog for folks like her. The bike? Were it a horse, I’d have to shoot it.

The ambulance folks asks me if I can get up onto the stretcher by myself, but no go, so I get a boost. I see some cops talking to the driver, who seems to be in a state of shock, and other cops are talking to the city worker, who’s staying near his truck. Get loaded into the ambulance, where the paramedics make an educated guess that all these cuts on my leg—including the one on the ankle that goes all the way to the bone—were most likely caused by the bike chain.

Naturally, being the olde thyme blogger that I am, I whipped out my camera and took a picture. A cop is in the ambulance with me, taking an incident report. I’m worried that I’ll have to buy a new bike, which? I really don’t have the coin for. (Hey, if I sound obsessed about my bike, it’s because I’ve had it for about 15 years, I worked on it a lot, it’s my primary mode of transportation, and I rode it a lot post-op.)

Grab my cell-phone, which finally serves its purpose, call the milliner, tell her what happened, and that I’m heading to hospital. You know that you’re injury-prone when your beloved’s response to such news is, “Same hospital as always? I’m on my way.”

So! Spent the day in ER, the triage nurse simply wrote “cut on right foot” on my record, so response was slow. Got x-ray’ed 3 hours into my visit, and stitched up last night. Nothing broken, just a bunch of stitches on my leg, my left side is killing me, but hey!, besides that, I’m unscathed.

I was thinking of getting a fixed gear, velodrome bike next. And yes, I’m keeping the clipless pedals. What could possibly go wrong?



  1. Martine said,

    Scary, scary stuff. Glad you are okay.
    Hope someone got the name of that city worker…

  2. zura said,

    Egad, egad! It’s a scary thing, the things that can happen biking in this city. Glad to hear nothing is broken, and what’s up with skirt flapper woman? Perhaps she was attempting to “heal” you. Well, I hope you heal quickly and get a good deal on your next bike, poor thing.

  3. mare said,

    Ouch. At least you hit a car so your mediacal costs are covered. Two years ago I hit another bike and I had to pay a lot out of pocket.

    Doesn’t the car insurance of the guy that doored you have to fork over money for a bike replacement? Or doesn’t that work this way here? In Europe they would, since you have damage insurance included in your car insurance.

  4. blork said,

    Ouch! Glad you’re OK. Thanks for the photo. :-/

  5. Fagstein » Why I’m hesitant to use a bike downtown said,

    […] don’t want an idiot driver opening his door and sending me to the hospital looking like […]

  6. Donal said,

    Before I got to the bit where you said you’re OK, I promise I was not thinking:

    “sweet, I’m taking his big-assed monitor”

    Get well soon!

  7. Vila H. said,

    Ack. So glad you’re not broken.

  8. lefty said,

    awesome story! can’t wait to see the scars! my first bikemetcar memories were pretty much the same: 1) this should be painful 2) how/where is my bike 3) ooh an ambulance, never been in one of those…

  9. Olivier said,

    Take it from another urban bicyclist: this is scary. Scary and amazing how your story sounds like a combination of two other accidents.

    First, my girlfriend had a bike accident on Park ave. that left on her leg the same kind of injuries. Don’t worry, those won’t last.

    But mostly, it reminds me of an accident that happend to a close friend five weeks ago. Very same set-up, except the car did nor roll over his bike, but over his body. My friend is still in ICU, General Hospital too. We’ve been with him most every evening and still can’t figure how much he will be able to recover.

    Drivers, we don’t want to die by your negligence: use your mirrors.

  10. JonasParker said,

    I am very glad to hear about your lack of mortal injuries.

    A friend had a similar incident in Manila a few weeks ago, except that it was his fault. I’ll blog about it later.

  11. John said,

    Holy crap, dude! I’m glad you weren’t more seriously hurt.

  12. Marc said,

    I am amazed (and of course happy) that you are still alive

  13. Marc said,

    On the brigth side, it could have been worse; you could have have Daisy out running along side you.

  14. Michel said,

    Thanks all. It was just a (several) flesh wound. I’m all better now. (Okay, I’m mixing up my Monty Python quotes, but at least they’re from the same movie.)
    Martine, there’s a police report, so the city worker’s name should be there somewhere.
    Zura, fixed gear. It’s the next big thing.
    Mare, yup, apparently I need to go through the insurance companies. I’m sure the process will be completely pain-free.
    Wee Donal, are you saying I have a big ass?
    Jonas, according to a poster on some piss-ant quebec bbs, this accident was my fault as well.
    Marc, I’m like a Weeble. I wobble but I don’t fall down. Except that I do. 🙂

  15. Spaceman Spiff said,

    Bonne convalescence! Je te souhaite d’être réparé avant ton vélo!

  16. Dianne said,

    Wow. Sorry to hear this. I got hit by a car on my bike once too. I still have clipless pedals too, but I’m a little more nervous riding on the streets. Glad to hear you are healing well.

  17. blork blog » Blog Archive » De Maisonneuve Bicycle Path News said,

    […] great news, as it will drastically cut down on the chances of people getting doored. Generally speaking, I’m a bit skeptical about bicycle paths, as they give some cyclists […]

  18. george said,

    So it’s been a couple months; I hope you’re completely healed and have secured a new bike. Great story, well written. Now what I really want to hear about is the time you rapped off the end of your rope…

  19. Oh happy day « The Tinman’s Thoughts said,

    […] 12, 2008 at 4:30 pm (Uncategorized) Yesterday, Wednesday, nearly a year after my physical and unexpected confrontation with the underside of a car, I finally got back on a bike. Good times, although I needed to re-adjust the height of the seat, […]

  20. And $0 for pain and suffering « The Tinman’s Thoughts said,

    […] I saw the name of the defendant, and then it all made sense. Said defendant was the fella who doored me last June. Because I was carted away in an ambulance, I really didn’t get to see what transpired […]

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