Don’t Panic, But This Is Gonna Sound Bad

Day’s Verse:
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:1-4

I was T-boned by a car while riding my bike in Bellevue today.

That’s about the simplest way to put it, I think. Details:

Today is gorgeous. I mean just beautiful: Low 60s, sunny, light easterly breeze. The kind of day when Artemis just begs me to hop on and go for a long, luxurious ride. Who am I to resist? After Ian and I finished the morning of theology class with our church (a topic that deserves a whole nother post all on its own), I changed into bike clothes and left from the pastor’s house in Bothell.

I rode out to Paradise Lake Road and it was so wonderful, and I felt so great — better than I have in weeks on my bike, strong and not struggling at all — that I decided to extend my ride. Instead of going home on 124th, I turned onto the Sammamish River Trail and hooked up with the 520 trail in Redmond. I planned to zip up through Kirkland (I was really looking forward to the flight down Northup Way, too), turn left onto Juanita Way, go over that hill, and come back home either on Simonds Road or via the bike path and Waynita Way.

It was gonna be a fabulous ride. Occasionally Mt. Rainier peeked out; the sun felt warm, the shade cool, my legs strong, and I felt like I could just keep going forever.

I might have actually executed my plan if, at the intersection of 148th AVE NE and NE 29th Pl, a contractor for Oracle driving a Hertz rental car hadn’t turned left into me as I went straight down 148th.

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I was in the right-turn lane, but towards the left-center, because I wanted to not turn right there but turn onto the bike path immediately across the intersection. Traveling about 19 miles an hour, I didn’t even have time to register that this guy was turning until I saw his hood right there on my left. Next thing I knew, WHAM! I’m up on the hood and then down on the ground.

Everything went downhill from there. The driver got out of the car immediately and started urging me to get up out of the street. People were talking to me, other cars were honking, drivers were asking me things, the driver and his wife were trying to move me and my bike out of the way, and I was just feeling incredibly confused and shaky.

I refused to move for a while. Eventually, when I ascertained that nothing seemed that awfully painful, I picked myself and my bike up off the road. The driver pulled his car into a nearby apartment complex parking lot, somebody called 911, and I started limping me and my bike over there. That’s when I noticed the front wheel was tacoed — not horribly, but it will definitely have to be replaced. At that point I stopped worrying about myself and started worrying about my bike: I can’t afford to replace the bike or most of its parts.

Which shows my priorities may need readjusting. But I felt OK, for having just been in a collision with a motor vehicle. Anyway, we sat for a while and a guy brought me an ice pack for my extremely bruised left hip (I assume that’s where I impacted the car hood, there and my left elbow) and somebody else called 911. The driver and his wife, both from India, begged me not to make the collision sound too bad. The driver said it was nobody’s fault… and I didn’t disagree verbally, although any left-turn collision like that is a fairly straightforward case of failure to yield right-of-way. Turns out the driver saw me but thought I was going slower than I was, and decided to zip in front of me, or at least that’s what I gathered.

I called Mom, who immediately dispatched Dad and Ian. While I waited for them, the Fire Department arrived and started palpating my neck, back, and head, all of which seem fine. Then the medics arrived and talked with the firemen and took over. They didn’t seem overly concerned about me since I had been able to walk from the intersection to the nearby parking lot. They asked if I wanted to go to the emergency room, and I eventually decided no: Last time I crashed on my own I got rushed there and was perfectly fine, except for the $700 bill. Now Ian and I don’t have that kind of money lying around, and I wanted to avoid it if I could.

So the medics left after giving me an ice pack for my elbow and a hospital blanket. I’d started shivering badly between the ice pack on my hip, my right leg (the inside hit the frame of my bike, I think, and is fairly painful when I stand up), elbow, and all the shock. After the medics left, the firemen hung around and filled out a medical report until the police officer and Dad and Ian arrived. They were probably also making sure I didn’t suddenly pass out or start acting really weird or some other indication of brain injury.

The police officer took a report and gave the driver and me a copy of each other’s contact information. The driver has an Indian driver’s license. Huh. Then we loaded my poor, battered bike and my poor, battered self into Dad’s car and went home. Now I’ve taken ibuprofen and have ice packs strategically placed on my extremities.

Tomorrow it’s gonna feel exactly like I was hit by a car.

Frankly, my biggest worry continues to be my bike. I’m young and very fit, and this was almost as mild as a car-bike collision could have been. I’ll have to get a whole new front wheel and helmet for sure, possibly a new front fork since that’s carbon fiber and probably is cracked, possibly a new rear wheel, and (oh goodness) new carbon fiber handlebars. I shudder to think of the cost. I just am PRAYING my titanium frame is OK. My fear is that the driver, who at one point said, “This wasn’t anybody’s fault,” won’t or can’t pay to fix the damage. But my sense is these guys don’t have any money; it’s going to have to be their insurance company. I can’t afford to fix all the stuff that might be broken. But I’ll save my panicking in that area until I can have a couple bike shops check the bike out and assess the damage, and until I start working with the driver and Oracle’s insurance company. Because of course the driver was insured through Oracle and was driving a rental car.

I really, really wish I could have just finished my beautiful day ride as uneventfully as I’ve completed all my other rides for years.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Panic, But This Is Gonna Sound Bad”

  1. Yikes! I am happy that you seem to be okay, that at least an emergency room visit wasn’t obviously in order. Good luck recovering some money from the driver to pay for your bike, in the meantime.

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