I wasn’t going to write about this incident because I found it a bit disturbing to talk about, but I wanted to give my fellow cyclists a “heads up” as to a mistake I guess I made yesterday, December 19th.
I was out on PCH doing a three hour strength ride. I got on the road late because of a Skechers commercial I shot in the morning and then an interview I did on Endurance Planet in the afternoon. I am usually pretty good at turning around in order to make it home before it gets dark. I made it out to Encinal Canyon and decided to turn, for I felt it was later than I was used to being out that far. I headed South and put the hammer down. The sun was setting as I hit Topanga Canyon and I figured I was home free. I did not want to be on the roads of Santa Monica post sun-down because I know the people of SM have a hard enough time driving and seeing cyclists in the daylight, let alone the darkness.
I got up to San Vincente relieved that I had made it. I headed east on San Vincente. It was dusk and I was wearing a black cycling kit so I knew I wasn’t the most visible person on the road. There was a lot of traffic out being that it was around 5 o’clock. Although I didn’t have a bike light, there were cars’ headlights lighting up the road and it wasn’t dark yet, it was just getting dark. As I approached 14th Street I saw a maroon Toyota Camry looking to turn left onto 14th Street in front of me. I came up to the intersection and looked the driver in the eye(or so I thought). She hesitated so I figured she had seen me. She had a stop sign. I did not. I proceeded across the intersection when all of a sudden she sped across the Eastbound traffic. I could not do anything. It felt like slow motion as she rammed, at an accelerating speed, right into me. Luckily she hit the front wheel of my bike which I turned as she hit to absorb the impact a bit. I flew with my bike about five feet where I landed on my shoulder, elbow, and hip. I laid there for a second to make sure I was with it and coherent. I know the feeling of being “crushed” because of all of my years of getting hammered on the ice rink. I unclicked my one cleat that was still clipped in and got up. By then the woman had come running out of her car, white as a ghost. I think she thought that she had killed me. I set my bike aside, felt my arm, hip, knee, head, and any other area that may have been affected by the impact of the car/street. I seemed to be in pretty good shape. My handlebars were askew and my one cleat had been cracked off of my shoe, but other than that I was OK. I told the woman and the other witnesses who had stopped that I was OK. They offered to call an ambulance, give me their info, take me home, etc. I refused and told everyone that I would be fine.
I told the woman who had hit me, “Don’t worry, I am fine, and have a Merry Christmas.” I pedaled home with one foot, being extremely cautious. It was completely dark and I knew people were not paying attention. In fact, I think I may have gotten hit two more times on the way if I had not been extra careful.
I made it home. By then, my neck was a little stiff, my shoulder was a little sore, and I didn’t feel right. Luckily my buddy Mike is a Chiropractor. He straightened me out and did what he could to ease the slight pain I had. Like I said earlier, I have had plenty of concussions in my life and I don’t think this was one. I just felt discombobulated. I relaxed the rest of the night and woke up feeling better. I was a bit groggy this morning, but all seems to be well.
So here are my words of caution.
- Don’t take any risks and get off of the road before the sun is even thinking about going down. We, as cyclists, are always trying to get in that one extra mile. Unless your bike is lit up like a Christmas Tree(seasonal reference) do not take a risk. Get off of the road and live to ride another day. In L.A. especially, drivers are more concerned about texting and celebrity sightings than us cyclists.
- Do not forget to train your upper body. I am extremely diligent at strength training my upper body as well as my lower body. Yes, you may have to gain a little more mass, but I believe my strength is why I do not have a broken shoulder, collar bone, wrist, concussion, etc. I hit the ground hard, but I had the muscular structure to absorb the impact. I will get a video out ASAP of an easy strength routine I do that helps to strengthen the upper body.
- Don’t try to be He-Man. If you do get hit by a car go to the hospital if you have any inkling there might be something off. Like I said, I know my body and I know when I am really messed up. I was OK after this, but I don’t want this to be a testament to how you should act in the case of a crash. Take care of yourself first.
There’s my story. It happens. I am happy I wasn’t one foot further into the intersection or she would have smashed my leg and that would have been a whole world of problems. Take care, happy holidays, and RACE HARD!
PS: Read me JUST RELEASED new e-Book Pro to Pro