Bike Wrecks and Road Safety

August 20, 2014

I finally had my first bike wreck.

I’ll start off by letting you know that I am not injured, aside from a scraped knee and sore shoulder.
Yesterday afternoon, I was on a training ride for my triathlon coming up in September, and decided to ride the bike routes in the neighborhoods near my house instead of the paved trails I usually use. The bike portion of my triathlon is on road, so I figured I needed to practice on actual roads so I could get used to being aware of everything around me.

I was also super pumped to break in my new tri shorts. I was a bit nervous since they don’t have the padding that my cycling shorts do.
Anyways, I was about 3/4 of a mile into a 5 mile route (I was planning on doing a 5 mile ride followed by a 2 mile run to get my legs accustomed to the transition) when it was time for me to turn left.
The offending intersection

The offending intersection

I looked ahead of me. I looked behind me. I stuck my left arm out sideways to signify to any cars that may come up that I was turning left. I saw a white prius approaching a stop sign about 400 yards in front of me.
Then, as I was starting into my turn, I saw the white prius roll the stop sign while looking down at a cell phone in their hand.
I slammed on my bike brakes and angled myself towards some yard, going down with the bike tangled up with me.
I was really lucky to not get hurt. I scraped my right knee and it’s a bit tender. My right shoulder has a dull pain today from being slammed into the ground. My crotch hurts from flying forward into the bar on my bike as we fell sideways. But other than that, I was fine.
It's only a flesh wound

It’s only a flesh wound

The white car didn’t even stop, and I really doubt they noticed I was there.
I did everything I was supposed to as a cyclist. I had on a helmet, and was wearing proper identification. I was wearing bright colors and not riding at rush hour. I was watching traffic and using my hand signals.
This is why texting and driving is such a big thing. Almost every state has laws against it, but people still think that they need to reply “k” to someone instead of waiting until they’re parked (or at least at a complete stop!) In Anchorage, there are a fair amount of casualties from people driving hitting cyclists. There is an intersection about 1.5 miles from my house that I refuse to bike across because in the time that we’ve lived here, at least 4 cyclists have been hit by cars.
We’re lucky in Anchorage to have hundreds of miles of trails away from the roads in town, but I’m sure it has got to be tough for those who bike to work (Alaska has one of the highest percentages of population that bike or walk to work) and always stay vigilant.
After my wreck into soft grass, I got up and checked out my bike. It looked fine, so I got back on it with my heart pounding. I took that left turn and rode another 2 miles until I calmed down enough to not be scared to ride my bike in a neighborhood near my house.
Once I got home, I showed Matt my injuries, cursed those who drive prius vehicles, and promised myself I’d get back on my bike tomorrow.
If you’re a cyclist for fun or transportation, I definitely recommend some key things to keep you safe when riding:
  • a helmet. Fitted properly and clipped on. It does you no good if it falls off when you wreck.
  • identification. I wear a RoadID that has my name, emergency contact, and City & State. Matt’s has his medical allergies and a hospital recommendation as well. Get one here if you spend a lot of time running, cycling, hiking, etc. by yourself.
  • a cell phone. You need to be able to call for help if you wreck, or at the very least if you get a flat and don’t have a spare one to ride home on.
Regardless, I’m super excited for my first triathlon coming up, called Tri The Kenai in Soldotna, AK. I’m doing it with a few girlfriends (all 3 have done at least 1 triathlon, making me the newbie) and so excited to find a new way to challenge myself! It happens Sept. 7th, in case you want to mark it on your calendar and send me texts of encouragement, haha!
Have any of you had close calls while working out? What did you do?!



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1 Comment

  • Reply Debbie Jones August 20, 2014 at 15:12

    Super glad that you were only banged up a little and not actually hit by the car! Keep at it. Love that you are keeping so active.

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