On Friday the 13th of March 1998, I was commuting home from work when a van turned in front of me. I don't remember the crash at all but I've been able to reconstruct some info from talking with the ambulance guys, looking at the crash site, and analyzing the data from my bike computer. Basically it looks like I was going east at about 30 mph when the van turned in front of me. I think I clipped it with my right pedal. This pedal snapped off and the crank bent. I dumped the bike on it's left side and slid along the pavement. Witnesses say I was unconscious for a minute or so. I always ride with my wallet in a shoulder pouch so in addition to calling 911, a witness with a cell phone was able to call my wife.
The ambulance crew tells me I was "conscious times one" when they got there which means I was awake and could answer questions but didn't know where I was, how I got there, or who the President of the US is. I don't recall any of this. I faintly recall being in the ambulance but my clear memories start when I'm in the hospital getting my CAT scan.
I basically had abrasions on my knees, elbows, left shoulder and the left side of my face. My Bell Image Pro helmet had taken the brunt of the impact. My CAT scan came back clear and I got to go home Friday night. I had to call a couple of my recumbent friends and say that I wouldn't be able to lead our ride the next day.
The bike I'd been riding was the PillowBike, a recumbent bicycle built by John Williams. The seat of this bike and it's neck pillow cushioned me in the crash. Here is a picture of me on the PillowBike. This picture was taken by Lee Brown a week or so before the crash. Interestingly, this picture shows me next to my friend Tony's van, which is about the same size as the van that was involved in my accident.
Here's a picture my wife Christine took of me the next day. Normally, I'm much better looking. My son Peter said that I looked like Darkman.
My recumbent pals routed their ride so it came by my house. There is nothing like the site of twenty or so recumbents coming down the street to bouy one's spirits. I assured everyone that I was fine and we spent some quality time talking 'bents and showing off various projects.
Saturday afternoon I got the PillowBike back from the ambulance crew. Aside from the sheered off pedal, bent crank and handlebars that had twisted in the headtube, the bike was fine. Not a scratch on the paint, not a zip-tie out of place. I replaced the crank with one from my junk pile, straightend the bars and installed a replacement set of pedals that I had laying around. I'd already hiked over to the store and bought myself a new Bell Forza 2 helmet. I test rode the bike. It looks like it's back to it's pre-crash state.
Here are a couple of shots showing the wrecked pedal crankset.
This morning, March 16, 1998, it was raining so I rode my junk bike William Burroughs to work.