I could've done without the bike accident I had last night. Really, I don't mind a nice boring (safe) ride home.
It was on the way home, about 3 blocks from my house, the bike's front wheel fell into a deep groove in the sidewalk (going downhill fast). My bike spun out into the street, I fell backward's, hitting my helmet and sliding along on my back.
I suffered a severely cracked helmet, tore through my jacket's back, scrapped up both hands, have deep bruise-type pain in my upper back and right hip. I was dazed as i lay there on the sidewalk. As soon as I gathered a few of my wits, I pulled my bike out of the street. I stood up and checked out the damage to my bike. All I could see was a severely bent front wheel. Then I called my wife. Among other questions, she asked where I was. I couldn't answer! I could not for the life of me remember the street names that I have lived by for 20 years. I knew the WAY home and that I was close, but not the street names.
I started walking my bike home and my wife ran down to help. I still felt rather dazed, but getting better. Later on, my wife mentioned that I told her on the phone about a driver who pulled over near where I was lying who asked if I needed help. Weird thing is, I had no recollection of this event! Scary! About an hour later, it came back to me, hazily.
According to what we looked up on the internet, I did not have enough symptoms to warrant an emergency room visit. Short term memory loss is rather common. Still in a good bit of pain today, I decided to stay home and take it easy.
Looking at the EIGHT big cracks through my helmet, it's frightening to think about what would've happened had I not worn it. When I was growing up, no one had helmets. No big deal... right? Well, I'm a believer now!
The offending sidewalk hazard is one I've successfully avoided 50 times or more now. It just took over-confidence and a momentary loss of concentration... From now on, I will slow down a lot to maneuver around this hazard. I'm also glad I had front and rear superbright lights flashing on my bike. I'm sure it helped the driver notice me go down. And had I been really UNlucky and fell INTO the street, the lights would've surely helped to avert a deadly collision.
I got a new helmet this evening, and the bike shop fixed up my bike, so I'm ready to go again tomorrow. Gotta get right back on that horse, ya know...
I'm thinking I might add a helmet mounted light as well. I hear the nice thing about helmet lights is that the light is directed right where I'm looking. I'm going to do some research on that. I don't mind being lit up like it's Xmas. Modern LED lights are bright and energy efficient. I'd rather look like a rolling holiday show than become road kill.
To my fellow bikers: be prepared, wear the helmet, use lights at night, learn your routes and it's hazards in the daytime, and slow down for known hazards, especially at night!