|On going over the handlebars
||[Jul. 25th, 2013|09:45 pm]
In spite of my user pic, I haven't gone over the handlebars of a bicycle since I was a kid, and possibly not even then (I remember tomatoe going over the bars of my ten speed, but I'm pretty sure I never did so on that bike, and that might have been the first bike I owned with a front brake).|
I was riding down Beacon St. in Somerville, headed down the hill past Star on my way to work. Because of the tragic seven-alarm fire early this morning a bit further along, traffic was backed up on my side of the road, but there's a marked bike lane there and there were several cyclists riding past the cars. Then someone in a white BMW pulled through the jammed traffic and directly across the bike path in front of me. I panic-stopped and wound up lying in the road in the middle of the side street intersection. The guy immediately behind me had the presence of mind to catch the license plate of the car before it – yes – drove off. He also had 911 on the line before I'd gotten my breath back.
I was pretty lucky, actually. I was wearing a helmet, and only grazed the front. The most visible wound is a nasty abrasion on my chin that means I won't be shaving for a few weeks. I bruised my knees and shoulder, and cut my left thumb and right palm (I was wearing bike gloves). Apparently I favor rolling right. By the time the cops and ambulance showed up I mostly just wanted to swab off and report the accident. If I'd been wearing shorts (as I was all last week) I would've been a mess of road rash.
The thing that leaves me the most pissed off is the fact that the driver never stopped. Apparently if I'd decided to just barrel into the car itself it could be charged as a hit and run. Silly me for not ending up under the wheels.
I wasn't riding my usual bike today – I was riding my mountain bike as I'd taken it to an offsite yesterday and it'd gotten caught in the rain. I'd hoped to work the new chain lube in before switching back to my commuting bike. I'm not sure if I'd have made the stop on the other bike; I suspect it would have been easier to stay in the seat as I end up with a straighter arm position on the drop handlebars, and with my weight further back over the rear wheel (the way to keep from going over your handlebars is to straighten your arms and throw your center backwards, but if you panic-stop hard enough and lock your front wheel you won't have time to shift into position). I might have ended up just plowing into the car instead, though, for all I know.
One other observation: once you're over the bars, your bike has almost no momentum left. Kind of surreal to watch your bike falling down as you keep flying over it.
I guess it's been several years since I was in a bike accident of any sort, and most of those have been pretty minor. Maybe my number was up.