Yeah, I had a close call last night, with becoming a Chrysler 300 hood ornament. The simple fact that I am here typing this morning from my own desktop should tell you I survived with only minor injuries. Oddly enough I am not freaked out by the whole affair. Last night of course I was exhibiting my classic English ancestry, Stiff Upper Lip and all that, but we few, we happy few usually freak out the next day after the danger has passed!
Location: A divided 4 lane road, with usually light traffic at night.
Time: Approximately 20:10. Yes it was dark. More on that later.
Bike: Giro 700c recumbent.
Car: Dark Chrysler 300, driven by an older woman.
The set up: I'm rolling down a slight decline in my lane (rt), all lights on--this is a DiNotte 1200 lumen white front light, a helmet light, and a DiNotte 400 strobing red rear light. This video is not me, but my lights are the same ones shown in the night video. My rear light was set on the strobe-steady mode which is a series of flashes, followed by a steady red (the light never goes out).
Bike is well covered in reflective tape as is my helmet. Two cars approached at 40+mph from the rear, side by side. This is an area where cyclists ride all the time, all year 'round, day and night.
The driver later stated she couldn't tell which lane I was in (possible due to the slight curve of the road, but it also means she SAW ME, well in advance of the incident.) I saw them coming up behind and thought she would pull into the left lane like all the other drivers had done all night long. She didn't. I checked my six again, and realized the closing speed meant I was going to be a hood ornament in about 2 seconds, when I heard her lock up her brakes and begin to skid. At the point I heard the skid start I knew I was toast if I didn't do something, and honestly on a bike there isn't a lot you CAN do. So I flung myself and my bike at the curb, in hopes of crashing on the dirt and weeds instead of her front grill.
Recumbents do not bunnyhop curbs well at all. Texas roadsides in a dry summer are not soft, but they are softer than concrete, or the hood of a Chrysler. My impact with the ground is sort of a blur. I remember hitting my head and getting a bunch of dirt in my face, tumbling around and sliding.
I ended up lying beside the bike, and was able to get my phone out of the rear bag and call 911. I waited until EMS arrived before I really tried to move anything. A nurse and an off duty EMT stopped by to offer help too, along with an elder from my church who happened upon the scene too. My thought, upon seeing him standing over me (he's quite tall) was "Wow! God sent Marty here awfully fast! I wonder if that's a good sign, or bad?" Fortunately it was a good thing. I suspect it was more for the benefit of DH than me, seeing Marty, as he is a very reassuring figure, and a friend.
EMS decided that other than my BP being elevated (understandable from the crash), I was pretty ok, all things considered, and I could go home if I wanted. I didn't feel like I needed to go to the hospital either, so it was home and a hot shower for me.
Today is post-crash assessment day. The left side of me is undamaged. The lower right side, especially the lower back is mighty sore, and there is a tiny bit of road rash on the right hamstring area. I'm tired, and I feel mostly like napping, and eating comfort foods. I need to get the bike looked at, to make sure there is no hidden damage to the frame or fork. I need to go look at a new helmet, since this one did take a fairly significant impact, and helmets really are one-crash items, even when they do not show visible damage. Why risk it?
In all, I was lucky last night, and I know it. Defensive cycling saved my life. I CHOSE to bail, knowing I would crash hard, but it was a better option to me, than the high risk of a car hitting me and the bike. I will be back on a bike (the tandem) this weekend. And if it isn't damaged, I'll be back on the Yellow Peril next week.