Mike, a regular commenter here at Commute by Bike, got hit by a truck a couple days ago. It’s a scary story, mainly because it sounds like he was doing everything right.
Here it is in his words:
I was doing my normal commute, which I’ve done since 11/1/06. Most of it is lightly traveled road, but there’s a 3/4 mile section which is 45mph 2 lane. It’s not usually a problem.
Yesterday was different. Some guy in a truck with towing mirrors was following the car in front of him too closely (he said) and when she swerved to get around me (I take the lane, at least 18 inches) he didn’t see what she was swerving for and he hit me in the head with his towing mirror. All I remember is doing a flip and then waking up on the ground. Luckily my brother’s fiancee was on her way to work, saw me, and stopped to hold my hand. I have been told that I spoke to several people on my cell phone, but I remember none of the calls. I believe I was knocked unconscious before I hit the ground. The driver stopped and sat with me until EMS showed up, as did an off-duty nurse and five cops, highway patrol included. The driver got a ticket for “improper pass”, and the trooper said I was crazy for riding on that road when he visited me in the ER.
I spent three hours strapped to a backboard while they took a CAT scan and xrays of everything on my left side. Nothing’s broken, no concussion, not even a suture. HOWEVER, my left elbow is scraped and looks like hamburger, as does my left calf, the back of my head, and my left buttock. My left calf is swollen to the size of a softball. I think it must have been impacted by my pedal, as I can make out a pedal shaped bruise. My left buttock is deeply bruised and is purple. I was wearing my helmet, which in this case was an excellent idea.
My bike came through pretty well. Judging by its appearance, I believe I flipped over and augured the brake hoods into the ground, bending them both inward. The hoods are scraped up, the front fender is broken, and the fender quick releases were both popped loose. There is a big chip out of the paint on the top tube, and the left fold out pannier of my Topeak bag is totally ripped off. I’m lucky to be alive, but my bike is out of commission for a while.