The first incident was when we were setting off on our Folsom trip and happened upon the scene of a recent, gnarly crash. Five roadies on one side of the trail, one down in agony and on the other side of the trail, a mother with her children still standing in the lane, a very dangerous place to be as it's on a blind corner right after a steep decline. We pulled off the road to see if we could offer support. Road rash galore. I went though my bag for some Neosporin and tissues. It was all I could really offer but was surprised that his riding group didn't have anything in terms of a first aid kit between the group. They were standing there waiting for the downed rider to make a decision as the whether he could get back on his bike or not. He was clearly slipping into an injury fog as the adrenaline of the crash was wearing off. I kept encouraging them to call someone to pick him up and they kept looking at him for direction. Finally, we headed back on our way as they were realizing the severity of the situation. This was an older gentleman who was clearly not capable of getting back on the bike (not that anyone probably should after an accident like that) and it was amazing to me that there was a distinct lack of knowledge about what to do in this situation. I'm definitely not an expert but I've taken first aid courses in the past. The truly reaffirmed my belief that a first aid kit and instruction booklet should be standard cargo in your biking bag. We all know not to leave the house without a patch kit, why do we forget about a patch kit for people?
Some ideas for your kit:
- Bandages in various sizes
- Gauge pads
- Gauze wrap
- Bandage tape
- Hand sanitizer
- Styptic pencil/blod clotter
- Rubber gloves
- Rescue Remedy (homeopathic stress/trauma relief)
- Arnica (topical pain relief)
I'm guessing that one of the kids of the family had swerved into the other lane causing the roadie to swerve and slide out. Ouch! The mother was riding with a kid in a seat on the back of the bike, not buckled in and without a helmet. Her other kid was about 7 or 8, riding his own bike, no helmet, shoelaces dangling precariously close to the crankarms/spokes. They were a moving accident waiting to happen. The poster family for the need of Kidical Mass rides to teach families and children how to ride properly and safely, not just on the street but everywhere. Not knowing what actually happened, it is also safe to mention that there are too many bikers on the trail who also think it's their given right to go as fast as possible even though there is a stated speet limit of 15 mph. They seem to forget that families and slow riders also use the paths and plow right through anything not wanting to ruin their cadence.
Recently, I've been trying to teach my dog to run alongside my bike (right, I can hear you all sighing). I wanted to pick up my Linus from my folks' house and thought I would take the dog to the park and then we'd all ride home together. What's the worst that could happen? I ride slowly with him and stop if he gets distracted. What I didn't really take into account is that we'd be going on busier streets than he's used to and he's a pretty skittish dog. My next brainfart involved my choice of footwear: little flats that have a tendency to slip off. Put the two together and we get a dog that jumped in front of the wheel, I went to put my foot out to keep him from running into the wheel, my foot went into the wheel, shoe fell off, and my foot goes around with the spokes and into the fork. I swear I watched my foot fold in half. Somehow, I managed to get my other foot on the ground and we were safely across the busy street. I hobbled back to my car (about a half mile away) and drove home. Rest, ice, elevation, compression (RICE: see how that first aid training came in handy?).
I have a big, fat swollen foot, funky spoke-shaped bruises, and a possible fracture. They couldn't tell from the x-rays so they have me treating it as if it was and put me on crutches. That's fun. I specifically asked if I could ride my bike and she didn't really say no. It was more like "take it easy." I can do that. This might be a week of drive-way bike rides, unfortunately. I'm at 536 miles out of 600 for the month--3 more days to go. So close!
So, bike accidents happen to the best of us. Of course, I wouldn't have been as negligent with my kiddos on the bike but you never know what/who is going to cause you to swerve out or crash. The best you can be is well prepared and aware. I wouldn't have such a lackadaisical attitude if it had been one of my children in this position but hopefully, I learned this lesson the hard way so no one else has to. Dogs + sandals + bikes = a bad idea. Staying calm and together helped me enough to get home so I could treat myself as needed. Of course, if it had been worse, like the fellow on the trail who was dripping blood and laying prone in the dirt, other action would have been required.
I wil be the first to admit that I got too cocky on my bike. I was too comfortable and letting my guard (and common sense) slip. Just as the drivers in cars need to remember that they are driving a deadly weapon and to treat it like one, I let myself get distracted and unsafe. Hopefully, not everyone has to learn to be cautious the hard and painful way but it is important to realize the inherent dangers of the things we do. I am thankful that I didn't hurt anyone else in the process and I am thankful that I didn't do more damage to myself, that could have been pretty ugly.
I'm sure my next post will be about brushing off oneself after falling down and not getting scared away from riding just because something goes wrong.