10 Things I Learned From Being Hit by a Car
Call the Cops
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I didn't call the cops at the time, and the next day I wasn't sure why I hadn't. Must've been the bumper of the Range Rover that shook something loose in my brain. Even if you aren't hurt and don't think any damage has been done, it's a must to have police on the scene to document what happened before anyone leaves. If you don't report it at the scene, you can still call the police department and make a report over the phone, which is better than not at all.
Have the Driver Text You
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After I took her policy number and a picture of her license plate, I had the driver text me to stay in contact. That way everything that was said would be in writing, which in my case turned out to be a good thing. Once I emailed over the quote from the bike shop for my cracked frame, all communication ceased. Luckily by then it was too late to take back all the conversations we'd had with our smart phones.
Don't Assume Cars Will Stop
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This was my downfall. I stopped at a four-way stop, unclipped my shoe from the pedal, and let the vehicle with the right of way proceed. When it was my turn I went in front of a car approaching the stop sign. This car completed what is called a California stop, rolling right through and hitting the gas without stopping, resulting in the plastic of her bumper meeting my skin. It was her fault, but cyclists always have to be on defense—in an accident such as this one, the cyclist never wins.
Shave Your Legs
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I wasn't cut too badly, except for a gash on my knee and some road rash on my shoulder and hip. The one major laceration I did have turned out to be a mess because of all the hair follicles. Contrary to what you may have heard, cyclists shave their legs because it makes treating wounds and the healing process much easier to deal with, not because it makes you more aero. My advice: Keep the hair off even if it isn't racing season.
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The driver of the vehicle was unresponsive to repeated calls from the insurance company after I submitted the claim, which dragged out the process for over a month. If I had bike insurance, I could've been back on the road with a new bike much sooner, regardless of her insurance company's process for my claim. For about $120 a year you can take out insurance on a bike up to $3,000, and it covers everything from theft to accidents such as this one.
Buy a Good Pair of Gloves
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I've been in a few crashes, and every time I've been thankful to have purchased a nice pair of cycling gloves. There is nothing worse than road rash on the hands, and the gel inserts in the palm helped to cushion my fall. Surprisingly, they didn't even need to be replaced.
Don't Throw Your Helmet
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Oddly enough I felt very little pain after I was struck. Instead I was filled with an overwhelming sense of anger, not necessarily directed at the driver but just at the stupidity of most people who operate vehicles with a casual recklessness. To release my anger, I football spiked my helmet in the intersection. The helmet hadn't even touched the ground during the accident, but that doesn't mean it didn't end up broken. The cost was $100 that I couldn't write off on insurance.
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Other than a few cuts and bruises, a bent front derailleur and a broken water bottle cage, my bike and I seemed to be no worse for the wear. It wasn't until later that day when the local bike shop found a tiny hairline crack in my frame and another almost too small for the eye in my carbon handlebars. After you've been hit is not the best time to rely on your own eyes to check over your equipment. Your best bet is to call it a day and have a professional look it over.
See a Doctor
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No, this isn't to bump up your insurance claim. I felt fine after being hit, but the next day was different. Even though I somehow managed to escape with no broken bones, I had quite a bit of soreness in both shoulders and hips. It's better to get X-rayed to be on the safe side—just in case severe pains decide to pop up a few days later.
Wait to Buy
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Before you go out and buy the new Colnago Ferrari edition, wait to get your insurance money. You might not be getting back as much as you thought you would, and your spouse may want you to consider a cheaper option. Does Huffy make a racing bike?