Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged accidents

I Hit a Bird

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Yesterday, I was riding home from work on my bicycle. The sun was shining off and on through some light and feathery clouds. There was a bit of wind, but it was fairly gentle for the most part. I had just passed through a stop light and gotten onto a large wide bike trail.

As I passed under some trees, I noticed a bird flutter to the ground a just a few feet in front of me. It looked like I startled it and it started flying away. However, even though it looked like it was flying away, it turned wing and flew right into the spokes of my front wheel. Horrified, I watched as it got stuck in my tire’s rotation and shot out the same side that it had flown in on. It landed on the road in a crumpled mess of feathers.

I screeched to a halt and turned my bike around. I dropped my bike and went to where the poor thing lay. Its right wing was bent over itself and it was on its back. I gently picked it up to move it off the road. It struggled very little, so I knew there wasn’t much I could do. I set it under the shade of a tree and watched it die.

I felt really sad about the whole thing. I know that there is nothing I could have done in that moment, but it still hurts to be the direct cause of ending of a life. It makes me think about what other harm I might unintentionally cause in this world. I believe that I try to do good and not hurt others, but the truth is that I have and I will hurt this Earth’s creatures in this life. I eat meats from other creatures and sometimes I don’t even remember to be thankful that a creature died so that I might live. I have hurt people physically and emotionally as well. I have done all these things. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. I think that part of my goal in this life is to work towards good and to give other creatures’ lives meaning. Therefore, even though I killed this bird, I can honor its life and how it died by working to not forget my place in this world and my goal of doing good for all the life I encounter.

Watching an Accident Happen

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I was riding my bike up to the intersection of Stadium and Packard this morning. I stopped behind a car and was gazing off into the intersection, not really paying much attention until I saw a guy on bike heading in the opposite direction as I was. He was coming from the sidewalk and the light had just turned green. He started to cross the intersection when a car making a right-hand turn decided to turn right in front of him. The bicyclist hit his brakes hard and flipped over the handlebars. It was only then that the driver of the car seemed to notice the biker, and he stopped. The biker got up and after checking himself out waved the driver on. The biker then walked his bike across the intersection and stopped to check the bike and himself out.

In the meantime, the light turned green for my direction to go. So, I decided to pull over and make sure the biker was all right. “Are you okay,” I asked as I rode up and stopped beside him. He looked up and I recognized that it was my friend Frank. I was very surprised to see him and I think he was surprised to see me as well. I talked to him for a minute or two and tried to pay close attention to his pupils and responses to see if there were any signs of concussion, but everything seemed to be all right. We said our goodbyes and continued on our separate ways.

Since I’ve been in so many bicycle-car accidents, I could totally relate and understand what he went through. I hope that seeing a face he knew and who understood helped him a little. That small interaction changed my outlook a lot. I was running late for work and I was stuck in the bear trap of oppressive thoughts and ideas. However, at the moment I saw this person get in an accident, my immediate desire was to help, and all thoughts of how late I was floated away. All in all, I’m really glad that he was okay and that no other apparent damage was done.

I was in a hurry yesterday morning. I still rode my bicycle in to work, but I was very distracted. I came to an intersection where I would be making a left turn. I got into the left turn lane where there would be a “protected left” turn.

When the “protected left” light turned green, I started to go, but in my haste, my foot slipped off the pedal, and I scraped my leg from just above the ankle to the top of the shin! It hurt a lot! I regained my composure enough to complete my turn. However, just I was finishing my turn, a silver mustang came flying up (trying to make that light, I presume), and literally came within inches of hitting me.

I try really hard to not use profanity, but in my surprise and pain, I swore. I felt a lot of anger build up in me as I hobbled my bike over to the side of the road to tend to my wound. The woman in the mustang revved her engine and took off as soon as I was out of her way.

The whole incident left me very indignant at the woman, and with a lot of drivers in general. I calmed down as the blood pooled on my leg and scabbed up. I started thinking about how often I’ve done that very same thing the woman had done. I see a light about to turn red, and I gun the engine so that I don’t have to wait another few minutes, or perhaps I don’t even notice someone who’s struggling with something because I’m so impatient and my mind is elsewhere on a thousand future shocks or a hundred past dreams.

I need to show a little more compassion for those people who are struggling, and especially for the ones that upset me without giving them a chance. For all I know, the woman was hurrying to the hospital for a loved one or some other such emergency.I am not always good at letting my bubble of consciousness expand to other people. This life is hard, and there’s lots that I do to make it harder. In reality, I’m learning that I need to concentrate less on what other people are doing, and more on how I can be of help to those around me.

I am not very good at much, but I do have a heart, and I can use that heart to guide me to help, be helped, and find friendship and love along the way. I think I can do better with such things, and I really hope that I will.

Getting Hit By a Car

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I’ve been in that very situation a few times in the past. It’s always interesting to see the reactions of both bikers and drivers in these types of situations. Sometimes when I’m biking, I will see a car pull out into the bike lane and come extremely close to hitting me because they are looking farther down the road. Other times, a car is making a right-hand turn and the driver doesn’t remember to look in their right-hand mirrors before they begin to execute the turn.

I think it’s easy for both sides to make mistakes when driving/biking. As a car driver, I realize how easy it is to miss something like a biker. Bikers are generally small, and even if you do check your mirrors or do a head check, it’s still quite easy to miss them when you’re used to looking for cars. As a biker, I know that it can be a very harrowing experience to realize at the last second that a car driver doesn’t see you. I try really hard to be seen when I ride my bike, but I certainly don’t always succeed.Regardless of who is at fault when accidents do occur, I think it best to try to be understanding about the whole thing.

On a similar vein, one thing I can’t stand is arrogance from either the biking community or those who drive cars. A couple of days ago for instance, I was biking in the bike lane on Packard Road when a car slowed down and up next to me, drove really close by, and the person in the passenger seat yelled, “Nice bike, f*gg*t [some other words I didn’t catch] *$$hole!” To my knowledge, I didn’t do anything to cause them to act that way, but it certainly didn’t make me feel too good. I’ve had people act very poorly towards me without provocation (as far as I know), and I really hate when that happens. I just think that life is hard enough without being jerks to strangers.

But hey, what do I know? People are how they are, and there’s very little I’ll ever be able to do to change that.

Broken Pedal

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Last night, I was driving home on my bike. The wind was blowing from the west heavily, and as I strove against it going uphill, I noticed that something felt a little strange on my left foot. I ignored it for a couple of seconds, but then my foot seemingly started to slip off the pedal! I have clip-in pedals, so it was a very unnatural thing to experience the sensation of my foot slipping off. At nearly the same instant, I heard a loud “SNAP” sound and my left foot was no longer attached to the crank arm of the bike. My pedal had completely come off!

What had actually happened was that the pedal has slipped off the spindle upon which it rotates (some retaining mechanism had failed). That probably wouldn’t have been too costly to fix, but as my foot slipped off the pedal, the fiber composite of the pedal’s platform sheared under the pressure and snapped a couple of chunks off.

I am a little saddened by this, but I’m glad that I still have my old pedals. It was a rather surprising turn of events though!

An Anniversary

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A year ago today, I had a biking accident that incapacitated me for a long while.

It’s interesting to look back on that day. It started like any other day, yet ended unlike any other day. It was dark and windy, just like many days since, but it is special in my mind because of how much it affected my life. Even today, I ride differently at night than I used to. I try to be a little more careful and in less of a hurry, but like that night, sometimes I forget to be safe. It’s very easy to get caught up in the past and future of my life, but to not pay attention to the present. The experience taught me a lot about asking for help, being grateful for what I have and what I do not have, and also not feeling like I have to control my whole world.

Another thing that is brought to mind at this anniversary is all my friends, family, and strangers who have helped me in the past year. Rich drove me to the emergency room. My friends John, Andrew, Joe, James, Rixin, Liz, and many other friends and family were able to drive me back and forth to places I needed to go. My parents put me up for a week and took care of me until I could at least start to go back to work. The staff at Quantum Physical Therapy helped me get back on my feet. Along the way, there were countless strangers who went out of their way to help me, from opening doors for me to just being careful to watch out for me. I am able to see how important a community of friends and family is, especially when I needed them the most. Also, I can see the goodness of strangers reaching out to the rest of the community with no reward other than altruism. It really is a beautiful thing!

I had another bicycling accident yesterday. I was riding down the sidewalk in the cool of the morning. This particular sidewalk curves around a large oak tree, probably six to eight feet in diameter. As I followed the sidewalk around the tree, another bike rider appeared from the opposite direction. We hadn’t seen each other because the oak tree was in the way, but in the last half-second before we collided, we definitely saw each other.

The other biker cursed and veered to my left and I veered to the right. Something on the front of my bike got caught on his bike, and I flipped over the handlebars and tumbled onto the cement. He also fell of his bike, but on the grass.

When I got up, I saw that my knees and elbow were bleeding, and that my handlebars were all bent up. I tried to stay calm while I doublechecked the rest of my body carefully for any tightness or soreness. He and I got to talking while I retrieved my first aid kit from my bag. His name was Jason, and he felt pretty bad for running into me. I said not to worry as I sprayed all my cuts and scrapes with Neosporin. He seemed like a nice enough guy, so after I had cleaned up most of the blood and put a few band-aids on, I shook his hand and he headed back on his way. His chain had popped off, but other than that, his old cruiser bike withstood the crash a lot better than my fancy bike.

While Jason rode off into the sunrise, I finished tending to my wounds and started working on my bike. The shifters were both bent inward and I found that the front wheel was bent pretty badly. Other than that, it appeared road-worthy. So, I took out my toolkit and readjusted the shifters. I had to do some adjusting to the brakes while I was at it. Then, I trued up the wheel as best as I could so at least it wouldn’t rub.

I double-checked everything and then rode slowly for the remaining three or four miles to work. I took the bus home after work and then I worked on my bike yesterday evening for a long while to get the wheel back in drivable shape. I noticed a few things on the wheel that will have to be replaced soon as well. Hopefully they will last for a while longer though. We’ll see!

Bicycling Accident

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Yesterday afternoon, I was heading home from work. I was riding my bicycle on the sidewalk down the south side of Packard. I came up to the intersection of Packard and Cherry Tree. There was a minivan at the stop sign waiting to turn.

I slowed down, and I thought I made eye contact with the minivan, and then I checked the rest of the intersection before I went through. There was a big conversion van coming and making a right hand turn onto Cherry Tree. So, I stopped on the sidewalk while I waited for the van to continue.

The van started making the turn, but when she saw me, she stopped (blocking the traffic on that particular lane of Packard), and motioned me to go.

I checked back with the minivan, and she didn’t appear to be moving, so I started across the intersection. When I was about halfway across the minivan, I heard the engine roar to life. She must have really punched the gas! I heard the van hit my pannier bag and a half-second later, I felt myself getting thrown out into Packard.

As I flew through the air, I said to myself, “Uh oh.” Adrenaline rushed through me, and I immediately let go of the bike and unclipped as the bike hit the ground again. The bike continued skidding into Packard and ended up being laid out. I somehow landed on my feet in a crouching position and slid like a surfer for a few feet since my bike shoes don’t have all that good of traction.

I was a bit shook up, but since I landed on my feet, I didn’t have any scratches or scrapes. My bike was a little worse for the wear. There were quite a few scratches and that sort of thing, but it wasn’t too bad. I picked up my bike and found my water bottle, and then brought it back onto Cherry Tree Lane.

I stopped and checked my bike once over. Meanwhile the lady in the minivan rolled down her window and said, “I’m so sorry. I thought the van was waving me on.” I just shrugged my shoulders and continued looking at my bike. I said, “Okay, it looks like everything will work.” Then, I brought the bike off of Cherry Tree Lane and onto the sidewalk. At that point the minivan left. I didn’t think to get a license plate or anything.

I reset the chain and the derailleurs, doublechecked the forks, checked the rims and tires, etc. With a few tweaks, everything appeared to be in working order. So, I hoped on my bike and headed home.

I must say that I am very grateful that I didn’t get hurt worse. If she had hit my bike differently, it might have pulled me under her wheels because she really hit the gas to turn out onto Packard. I also could have gotten hit by the bumper instead of my panniers, trapping my leg between the minivan and my bike frame. I could have not been able to separate myself from the bike in time and gotten at least some more scrapes and bruises. None of these things happened.

That was a pretty crazy time, I must say!

Another Accident

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I’ve been posting mostly short blogs the past week or so because I’ve been pretty much bed-ridden. Here’s my story of what happened:

It was a dark and windy Wednesday night (October 27)…the hour had just chimed eight, and I was riding my bicycle home along Stadium Boulevard. I was thinking about my day, and generally unwinding as I’m wont to do while I’m riding home. I had crossed over Main Street on the sidewalk of the north side of Stadium, and was gently pedaling along the slightly sloping downhill.

The sidewalk ahead looked fairly well-lit by my Cateye┬« headlight (the brightest bicycle headlight I could find). However, lurking just beyond my view, a large construction sign had blown down and across the sidewalk. The unistrut or what-have-you was angled about a foot and a half off the sidewalk, and since it was so dark and thin, I think my brain thought it was just another crack in the sidewalk…but to my undying shame it was not just another crack!

I hit that piece of the sign at a pretty good speed, and the front tire was immediately stopped. Sadly, the principles of physics were still in full effect, so without even so much as a half-second to think, the bike immediately flipped up, and I (still clipped to the pedals) went with it. As the wind was knocked out of me and I hurtled through the air, I thought, “Uh…what’s happening?” Before my brain had time to answer that rather important question, I had landed quite a few feet beyond the point of contact on my head/helmet and right shoulder with the bike still above me. I unclipped from the pedals, and threw my bike to the side.

I think I was still in a bit of shock, but I got up, and realized I couldn’t use my right arm. So, I threw my book bag over my left shoulder, and started walking my bike home. As I gradually realized that my right shoulder hurt A LOT, I thought that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to walk the remaining two miles. Instead, I walked to my friend Rich’s house a few more blocks away, hoping against hope that someone would be home. Rich was able to drive me to the hospital and stayed with me while they checked me out. For that, I am extremely grateful.

The lovely doctor at the hospital determined that I had a broken clavicle, that no other bones were broken, and my skull was in one piece! Thank goodness for helmets! They put me in a traction device and told me to see an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible.

When I got to the orthopedic doc the next afternoon, he informed me that I had to take a whole week off of work with lots of “rest.” Every time I laid my head, I had to put a rolled up towel in the center of my back to keep the shoulders pressed back. They were worried that the two bone pieces would overlap and try to heal that way, instead of just touching each other. Not only that, but the good doc said I might need a metal plate put in (which would mean even MORE time off).

I saw the orthopedic doctor again yesterday, and luckily for me, the “metal plate” surgery didn’t need to happen. The doctor was happy with my progress, so now I am able to go to work again (starting today)!

I have to take it pretty easy for a while, and will be wearing a stylish beige figure-eight brace for at least another month, but hey, it’s progress! The doctor said I can use my right hand a little bit starting today, so I could finally write this story (using both hands for typing)!

A Slight Accident

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On Saturday, I got into a slight one-person accident while I was going from a barbecue to a birthday party on my bike.

From my bike acciden 07/10/2010

As you can see, it was a bit less than perfect for me. I ended up scraping my knee and hands a good bit. I still have it wrapped up, but it is getting better. I’ve been layering the ole Neosporin because it was kind of pussy the first evening or so. But, it seems to be improving at a decent rate.

I am taking it easy while riding my bike while the wound heals. I haven’t had the best of luck of late. We’ll see how it goes in the future!