Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
I will wait for You.
Well, actually my worst nightmare involves a semi-truck going 60 miles an hour. This was a minivan, turning right on a red light. The light was green my direction, I had my front headlight blinking, and the intersection was decently lit. Unfortunately, none of that matters when the driver looks left to check for oncoming traffic while turning right. I crossed in front of him just as he pulled out; I saw the van moving but couldn’t do anything: Stopping would have just left me directly in front of him, and besides, I hardly had time to think.
He hit the rear of my bike going fairly slowly as I went by at about 15 mph, and he knocked my bike onto its side in the intersection. I fell on my left side, the wheels spinning out in the direction he was moving. I felt my head hit the pavement hard, heard the crack of my helmet on the cement, but I did not feel the scrape of my elbow or the bruising of my left hip and ankle or my right knee. For a while I just laid there gasping, shocked, the lights of stopped cars and the accumulation of voices and my body trying to signal me all blending together.
Then somebody kindly lifted my bike off me, and I somehow stood up, someone holding my backpack and a half-dozen people out of their cars asking about my welfare. I felt myself mentally: Legs working. Arms working. Head working (I think!). I was shaking and my heart was pounding; adrenaline must have been pumping through me like crazy, because I felt… fine. I thanks the concerned strangers and told the man who hit me I was unhurt, and then I walked to the train station.
Before we go any farther, I would like to interject: YES, I KNOW. I should have gotten his name, his contact information, his license plate, the make and model of his car, his insurance, a half-dozen pieces of information. But imagine having just been hit by a minivan and coming out walking on the other side. You are not thinking clearly, probably in shock, and you just want to get where you were going to sit down and stop shaking.
Back to the story. I walked to the train station, slowly, marveling that I had just experienced one of my greatest fears in bicycling and had come out virtually undamaged on the other side. I kept thinking over and over that the goodness of God alone protected me — that the van had stopped at the red light, rather than barreling through the right turn at 30 mph. That none of my limbs broke and my really painful elbow is the worst injury I have so far. That my bike appears completely undamaged, and certainly unbent (I landed on the non-gear side).
When I arrived at the train station, the security guard said, “Here’s my regular.” because he and I see one another every day. He said “How’s it going.” and I asked if he had any neosporin or something to put on my bleeding elbow. He asked if I fell and I said no, I had been hit by a car — and then burst into tears. Somehow voicing the experience broke down my reserve. The kind security guard escorted me to their little security guard station, where he raided the first aid supplies. He put alcohol on my arm, although I barely felt it, and then wrapped it securely with a bandage and sent me on my way. The train ride home felt surreal. My head hurt, but no more than I might expect from banging it on the road while having it securely encased in a helmet.
Ian brought me home. I took a shower, washed my elbow (ow!!), and put antibiotic cream on my elbow. I expect to wake up very sore tomorrow, but by the grace of God I am here, virtually uninjured and having lived through the great bicycling fear. God is very, very good.