Last week I was involved in two separate accidents that were discussed by this forum. 

In my professional role as an Ambulance Paramedic I was called to attend the poor gentleman who collided with the wire fence in North Adelaide and while my professional responsibility over rides any desire I have to comment on the incident I would like to say I was a little disappointed with the direction that discussion took at times.  Wait for fact guys....speculation, rumour and gossip don't help the cause.

You would think that my exposure to such incident would provide me with sufficient caution but In the second incident I was the cause of a serious accident involving a cyclist....me.

There was no patch of gravel, no corrugations, no wild animals or blinding lights. No errant motorist or negligent road worker. My bike was in perfect working order and my body fit and not affected by drugs or alcohol.  There were of course a series of connected events that both had me at this place and time and had me wanting to ride fast at that time but, like the luck that saved my life they only figure in the consequences of a stupid mistake.

I have had a week to reflect on the incident now....I remember it remarkably well thankfully.

It was my plan from leaving The Range to ride as fast as I could and I have ridden down Willunga Hill fast many times before. Alone, in groups, hail, 48 degrees. I think it's the last place I ever had to swerve to miss a Wombat around Adelaide many years ago.  I was looking forward to riding up hard as much as I was enjoying the sensation of the descent. I can still visualise the first two corners, I've spent enough time up there hanging out of trees during the TDU and my bike set up was feeling so smooth. I just entered the third, 85 degree left hander way too fast, I probably picked up more speed than I usually do because of the wheel set up, and once I was outside that white line I was in destiny's hands.

Had there not been a vehicle coming up Willunga Hill at the time I would have been able to correct but I had to squeeze the brakes way too hard when I saw the car and I was still doing about 40km/hr when I collided with it.  The driver of the car had no chance to avoid the collision and my stupidity could have had so much more impact on her life...luckily my fortune has made it easier for both of us to deal with the fall-out.  There were also six other people in the van and I am grateful for my luck that these ladies will look back on the incident more as part of their adventure rather than something that spoiled their holiday.  

My girlfriend, her son and my riding buddies were following on behind...it definitely spoiled their day and I am thankful that this is only because they missed out on the promised coffee rather than were left with bad dreams and a fear of getting out and doing what they love doing....riding a bike. 

There are many things that contributed to me still being here today and I have been through a range of emotions deciding how much of an element luck played.

One thing is certain. Having a properly fitting helmet that meets the high safety standards to allow me to race in it saved me from serious head injury. Improvements in motor vehicle safety design also meant that I was scooped rather than slammed...but I was fortunate that it was such a vehicle I collided with, and that it was heavily laden and under brakes.  

Being sideways on impact, whilst pure misfortune and bad handling also contributed to my lack of serious injury.  There was also a moment where I realised I was going to be hit and becoming relaxed was probably more a sub-conscious action of preparing for death rather than any stunt-man trick but it too saved me from more serious injury. I remember being thrown like a rag doll and fortunately had no time to resist the forces being placed upon my bike and body. My bike also protected me in some ways. My handlebars sheared and my seat 'ejected' from it's post as my pedals and cleats released as they should on impact throwing me clear of it.

In fact the worst injury I received was when I landed on the metal barrier as it broke my fall to the ground and it is probably the only injury preventing me from riding Amy's Ride today. I don't deserve to ride in Amy's Ride today.

Whilst I have tried to show that some of the reasons I am not more seriously injured are a little more than luck it is obvious that I am indeed a very fortunate person. 

In trying to deal with my remorse, embarrassment and injury since the accident most things have been dealt with using the humour and relief that fortune allows but the bravado hides a heavy guilt and I don't quite know how to pay back my good fortune. 

Luckily my injuries will probably allow me to get back to riding soon and I will change the way I ride...not for the pain I am feeling right now but to pay back fortune for sparing so many people such sadness.

Stay safe guys. Ride safe. Cycles and cyclists vs other objects isn't good.

Sorry.

Jack Graham

 

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Hope you get well soon Jack, Amy's Ride will be on again next year mate!

Thanks mate...energy received with gratitude.

It is scary Jack. I missed Amy's this year too, also like you it could have been much worse. If you get a lesson to learn from your crash, learn it, but don't beat yourself up about it, you got another chance seize it.

In my case a woman came to a t junction, looked for a car, as I wasn't a car she didn't see me and accelerated into me as I passed in front of her. I saw her make the decision to go, I could see her body language change. Hurts don't it?

I'm sad I missed Amy's, it's like my Xmas. I'm also proud that my wife made her 1st 100km ride on her own. See you at next years though! Recover well!

Yeh....I was looking forward to doing Amy's Ride with my Missus too. It's not the first time i've cheated death so I continue to Carpe the diem. Thanks for the recovery wishes.

Hope you recover well Jack. Don't dwell on it too much. It doesn't matter how good a rider you are things can go pear shaped (just look at pretty much any pro race). Sounds to me that you limited the damage well given the circumstances and the time you had.

Look forward to next years' Amy's.

Looking more forward to next years Three Peaks actually. All's well that ends well.

Thanks Pat.

Just recover enough to be back at the next PACC CX - where the falls are soft and mulchy!

;-)

Well at least I've got enough spares to make a CX bike now.

Thanks Gemma

nice on Gemma!

jack may not be beating himself up but relating his story that we might learn from it. he notes that there were some circumstances that helped him survive that we might be unable to rely on, like impacting with a newer  vehicle with safer design. most australian cars only rate 1.5 stars as far as hitting cyclists or pedestrians. (i am disgusted that our governments have not improved this through legislation.)

despite his occupation and seeing some bad injuries due to road trauma, jack still takes some risks. sounds like human nature.

You hit the nail right on the head Heather. The more we can assist and influence Lady Luck the better.

 

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