Hi... I used to post several years ago about riding in London, under a long forgotten user name. I'm back now with a tale about my recent crash. I'm hoping that some of you will find this useful, and if I help one of you avoid a crash, it will have been worth it. I'm hoping the responses won't turn into a referendum on the state of the NHS, from whom I received good care.
I crashed on 9th December 2021, at lunchtime, on a left hand downhill bend less than a mile from home. I was already thinking about my my hot tea and a sandwich. Mistake number one. When riding, think about riding, not what you're going to do next. The weather was dry and bright, though there were some damp patches on the roads. I was riding my "e" gravel bike on new 38mm gravel tyres. I was clipped in to MTB pedals, which I've been using for years. I approached the bend, and braked on the straight, releasing the brakes to enter the bend, with the inside pedal up, and ready to drive my weight through the outside leg. Now... I was either still "hot" speed wise, and/or there was leaf litter and/or a damp patch right on the bend. In any event, the result was that as soon as I drove my weight through my outside leg, things went badly wrong. Both wheels began sliding towards the outside of the bend, assisted by the down hill slope. I instantly knew I was in massive unfixable trouble. The bike crashed down onto it's left side with me underneath it. I smashed into the roadway with a heavy impact along my whole left side. My helmet hit the ground, either in the first impact, or when I bounced and slid along the road. Either way, there's a nasty dent in it, and it clearly saved me from a serious head wound, or something far worse. So, NEVER ride without a helmet.
Anyway... The force of the impact had unclipped me, and I was aware I was lying in the middle of the road. I tried to move, but realised several things weren't working properly. Fortunately a couple of cars had stopped, though we were all in a dangerous spot. Some kind person called an ambulance, which I initally tried to say I didn't need. Another mistake. If you are lying on the ground post crash, and your arms or legs aren't working properly, you need an ambulance. The police arrrived, and various other people with blankets and hot water bottles, very welcome. The police did their best to hurry the ambulance up, and also warn and slow the passing traffic. There was still a long wait for the ambulance, which I would say is unavoidable in these currrent times. Another reason to avoid crashing in the first place of course. When the crew arrived, they were excellent. I was moved into the ambulance with every care and consideration, by which time I realised I'd done a fairly comprehenisive job of damaging myself.
Cut to A&E some time and a CT scan later, plus a fairly hefty dose of morphine. I was told I had cracked 5 ribs and my pelvis, and a small bone called the sacrum at the base of my spine. Plus some major bruising and gravel rash, despite wearing 2 layers of winter clothing. I was hospitalised for a week, before being sent home with strong painkillers and a walking frame, with instructions not to bear weight on the bad side of the pelvis until I'd been seen again in outpatients.
I am very fortunate in that I took early retirement in 2017 and receive an occupational pension, so my income won't be affected. I'm also very fortunate that a vehicle wasn't coming the other way when I crashed, as I could easily have slid into it's path and been killed. I'm hobbling about at home now, counting my blessings, as well as my bruises. PLEASE concentrate on your ride, be aware of all road conditions and potential hazards, WEAR A HELMET ALWAYS, tell someone where you're riding, and roughtly when you expect to be back. If the worst happens, accept help if it is offered, and get a proper medical checkup. If I had tried to get up, I could have done worse damage to my pelvis or spine. Don't play the macho man (or lady!) And most of all, don't crash! Regards and safe riding...
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