Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting hit by a car or hitting a car?

I feel fortunate to be able to write this post after my crash yesterday. Pictures tell a million words but this one still doesn't tell the whole story, except that I got my behind kicked!

Saturday in the fall is football day and I was looking forward to watching the Huskies compete against Nebraska (that's another story). I went for a quick bike ride and was coming down a local hill (Juanita Hill) going about 30 mph. I pride myself riding with a keen sense of my surroundings, always looking for my bail out and expecting other people, especially automobile drivers, not to see me or understand the speed involved. Most likely it is misguided or just arrogant, because it sure did not help me yesterday.

As I am cruising down the hill, close to the right shoulder, I see a car in the opposite lane slowing down near the next intersection, but without signaling. I am staying right to give myself plenty of room, assuming the car might turn in front of me misjudging my speed. And it happens. The car slowly turns right into my lane. I am on a collision course unable to break in time on the wet roads. Therefore I head to the center of the road hoping to be able to go around the back of the car once it moves forward. But the one thing you can't plan for happens - the reaction of the driver. The lady finally sees me, freezes and stops the car in the middle of the lane. Bam! Nowhere to go I t-bone the car straight on.

I have heard and read stories about how people see their lives flash in front of them in a split second when encountering a possible life threatening situation. I did think that this was it or at least not turn out well, but maybe my senses are not developed enough to experience such enlightenment since all I could think was "I'm screwed". I remember hitting the car with my front wheel and rolling into the car. An impact on my side, spinning, my knee and shin hitting something and then the crash on the pavement. The air went out of my lungs and I might have said "stupid" but am not sure if it was directed at the driver of at myself for knowing better.

While catching my breath and trying to figure out how badly I was hurt the lady ask me if I was ok. Not at the top of my game or wit at the time I could only come up with a No. No cursing or sarcasm or at least a - what do you think? I just crashed into a car going 30 mph, broke a windshield and flipped over the car then hit the asphalt, which tore into my rear.

I managed to slowly get up and get myself to the side of the road since cars were squeezing though the gaps between the car and me and my bike. I guess all the folks were in a hurry to watch football or get to Starbucks!

Within 2 or 3 min a police officer, fire department and an A-car where there. They took good care of me and left after I assured them that I did not want to go to Evergreen Hospital and that I had a ride home. While waiting on my ride the police officer and I had to console the lady who hit me. She was really shook up and apologetic. Not the way you want to start the weekend!

Needless to say I did not make it to the Husky game, but spend quality time at Overlake Hospital getting my shoulder checked out and a few stitches in my shoulder and behind, where some of the glass decided to stick around.

I watched the game at home on the couch in agony - and not from the throbbing in my separated shoulder!

All in all I am very fortunate and I know God was watching over me, but I do not recommend flying to Indonesia the same day you get hit by a car. Good thing there are painkillers!


  1. Oh my...this could go either way. Thank God "only" a few stiches will left as a reminder. I guess this means more time writting posts? ;) Get well soon!

  2. Glad you made it without major injuries. I ride a motorcycle, and I think the same things you thought about cars not seeing me. Get well and good luck.

  3. this was enjoyable to read, detlef. get well soon, and enjoy indonesia!

  4. Totally a different attitude regarding bikes on the roadway, compared to most of Europe, I understand. Here it's commonly assumed that cyclists have little or no protection on the roadway,legally. In much of Europe, driving is considered a privelage, not at the expense of 'vulnerable users'. A similar incident would possibly result in license forfeiture.
    My best to you.. and I hope you can return to riding soon. It sometimes takes some confidence away after a collision.

  5. A friend and fellow hoops geek forwarded me this link. So glad to hear you're OK, and still in the area.

    Two comments:

    a) I have not watched the NBA since you, Gary Payton, and Shawn Kemp finished with the Sonics. Most thrilling team ever. I managed to get lower-level seats for Game 4 of the finals. Unforgettable.

    b) You were totally awesome on Parks & Recreation.


  6. thanks for all your comments and concerns! Been traveling a ton, but my shoulder is slowly getting better. Might need an MRI since i still can't lift much weight above my head. Maybe it is age!

  7. Man, this could happen to almost anybody. Good thing you were rescued fast. How was your recovery, then? And how's your car now? This is one reminder that drivers should slow it down when the road is wet.

    Garry Brei

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  9. Thank goodness nothing serious happened to you! But your car definitely suffered a pretty bad blow, especially the windshield. A serious damage on the glass certainly needs a replacement since it is beyond repair. I think by now your windshield is already replaced. But be sure to drive safely to avoid this unfortunate incident. Broken glasses from the windshield can be dangerous and can cause serious harm. [Joshua Turner]

  10. I feel so sorry for what happened to you, Detlef. How's your condition now? Unfortunate things can really happen. It was so nice of you not to take a legal action against the lady, even thou you know that she's wrong. Please don't get me wrong. But there are times wherein you must file a complaint against the offender. This can teach them a lesson that they really need to learn.
    Amy Baron

  11. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.
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  13. Hope that you are okay. Now you need to consider a car insurance for the future. There is a car insurance in Little Compton RI that I use for my car and would recommend to anybody that needs car insurance.