Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NY Times reporter has a bike accident

Fell Off My Bike and Vowed Never to Get Back On

By Gina Kolata

I crashed on my bike on Oct. 3 and broke my collarbone, an experience so horrific that my first impulse was to say I would never ride on the road again.

Turns out I am not alone.

“Well, you’ve joined the proud majority of serious cyclists who’ve busted a collarbone,” said Rob Coppolillo, a competitive cyclist in Boulder, Colo., who also leads rock-and ice-climbing expeditions and is a part-time ski guide.

I’ve since heard from other cyclists who broke bones or were badly bruised and shaken up in crashes. Many say they, too, vowed, at least initially, never to ride outside again. It’s not a universal response, but it is so common that cyclists nod their heads when they hear my reaction to my injury...I remembered what Michael Berry, an exercise physiologist at Wake Forest University, once told me. With cycling, he said, it’s not if you crash, it’s when. He should know. He’s a competitive cyclist whose first serious injury---a broken hip---happened when he crashed taking a sharp turn riding down a mountain road.

Then, last June, he was warming up for a race when he hit a squirrel, crashed into a telephone pole and broke his arm so badly he needed surgery.

His reaction to each crash was a variant of mine. He’d taken up cycling about five years ago because he’d injured his hamstring running. “With each wreck I thought, ‘Maybe I should try running again,’ ” he said.

My running friend Claire Brown, a triathlete, crashed a few years ago when she was riding fast on wet roads, getting in one last training ride before a race. Her bike slid on a metal plate in a bridge and she went down, hitting her head and her left hip. She was badly bruised, and even though she broke no bones, she did not feel comfortable riding for the next two years. Even now, she told me, “there are bridges around here I won’t ride on, and I definitely won’t go downhill fast"...

The rest of the article

See also the interesting comments on running versus cycling.

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30 Comments:

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a pussy.

 
At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed. We're better off without her on the road, with or without a bike lane.

 
At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously. She needs to HTFU. This isn't tea and crumpets - it's cross season.

 
At 12:46 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Right. Riding a bike is just another way for you assholes to display your machismo. Nice touch too with the sexist slur.

 
At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, for me it's a way to exercise and enjoy myself. I still maintain that we're better off without her. Anyone who isn't willing to put in some effort to learn how to handle a bike in traffic, in adverse weather, etc. shouldn't complain if they have an accident.

What galls me is that the Bike Nuts assume that that I automatically agree with their agenda just because I ride alot. I don't, and when i express my opinion I'm branded as "elitist cyclist". I guess I'm also an "elitist car owner", and an "elitist taxpayer".

And I reiterate: If your not willing to train yourself in basic bike handling skills, don't get whiny if you get hurt. Whether or not you have a bike lane is irrelevant.

And it is 'cross season - a perfect training ground.

 
At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Susan Anthony said...

Thank you rob for standing up for women.

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"If your not willing to train yourself in basic bike handling skills, don't get whiny if you get hurt. Whether or not you have a bike lane is irrelevant."

I don't read Kolata's piece as whining, since she writes about fitness issues regularly for the Times. It's only natural that she would write about her accident. She was apparently shocked at how easy it is to get hurt while cycling. You and those who have a lot of experience riding and have had injuries before are probably not her intended audience.

What I've tried to say, among other things about the subject, is that the city is really overselling cycling to a lot of people who shouldn't be doing it and who have no realistic idea of the dangers involved. Then when they take a fall, which is inevitable, they are traumatized like Kolata was. Making bike lanes on busy city streets is one issue, but it's just irresponsible of the city to encourage everyone and anyone to jump on a bike and ride in the city. You won't see people like Mirkarimi or Newsom on a bike, except on ceremonial occasions for photo ops.

 
At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Yep, Cycling does carry that risk of falling over.

But then I also fell over the other day while walking.

 
At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are traumatized by falling off your bike, you need to move to France or some other weenie place. We don't need you here.

And David Chiu is on his bike every day. Cuz he's not a weenie.

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Oh, you bike guys are so tough!

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

It's been over two years since my last cycling-related ambulance ride.

Get on a bike Rob!

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, it sounds exciting---broken bones and ambulance rides to the ER! I'll pass. It's one thing for adults---chronological adults, anyhow---to risk life and limb riding bikes, but what's shocking is how eager you folks are to indoctrinate children into your risky hobby and cult.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I think I'll take my chances on a bike.

It's a shame that kids are indoctrinated to be slaves to the automobile. You know, with their great health and all.

 
At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob is too much of a weenie to ride a bike. He sees a bike 50 yards away and FREAKS OUT that it's some hipster who's going to run him over. Waaaah - those crazy cyclists are trying to run me over.

I'm surprised he doesn't wear a full face helmet to walk down the street. Weenie.

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

come on mikesonn: get real. no one is indoctrinating kids to be "slaves to the automobile"..you're using big words to act scary. won't work.

cycling is dangerous. Doesn't mean one shouldn't do it and enjoy it, but be aware of the risk.

Cars and bikes don't mix very well, even if one becomes "trained" as a great cyclist. Even Lance Armstrong could get hit by a car and be injured or die. Of course we don't want that.

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Like a lot of bike guys, Sonn tries to change the subject to cars when you point out the dangers in riding a bike.

But the Times reporter wasn't hit by a car: the wheel of her bike hit the wheel of the bike in front of her, which caused the fall. A lot of cyclists are injured by causes other than motor vehicles.

But riding a bike does involve a certain amount of danger, which some cyclists---and the SFBC and the city---like to ignore, as if cycling is nothing but a danger-free, win-win deal for everyone. They worry that if they talk about the dangers, fewer people will ride bikes, which is surely true. It's irresponsible to encourage people to ride bikes without informing them of the risks involved.

Bert Hill understands this, and tries to teach people about it, as one of my early posts on the issue noted.

Robert Hurst, bike messenger and author of a good book on riding a bike in the city, also understands the dangers of cycling. Riding a bike in SF or anywhere is always going to be something only a small minority does, because most people have enough sense not to do it---or they are too old, too sick, too handicapped.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

Rocky, everything is dangerous.

And yes, car companies are advertising to younger kids. It's like fast food, hook them while they are young (brand recognition). Advertising 101.

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You ignore the links I provide on cycling and safety and change the subject to cars. Gee, I wonder why.

 
At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

because we only post here as a competition to see who can piss you off the most. Nobody is trying to convince you of anything. We are getting our bike lanes, getting Masonic fixed, getting Chavez fixed, and it didn't take you changing your mind.

Take solace in the fact we still find you strangely entertaining - at least you still have some relevance on this planet - as Court Jester.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I ignored nothing and then provided data that says the same thing about cars. You promptly ignore those. Hm, I wonder why.

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You can't convince anyone with any intelligence of anything, because you folks are intellectually deficient crackpots. You flatter yourself if you think your comments piss me off. I'm just still kind of shocked at how dumb you bike nuts---and city progs in general---are.

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

"because you folks are intellectually deficient crackpots."

Compliment!

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

Video that applies well. Rocky, you must lead a very fearful life.

 
At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if we're so dumb, how come we're getting all the perks?

 
At 2:53 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Oh, I lead an awesome life mikey. I fear nothing.

well, wait there are 2 things:

1. hipster boys who wear flip flops.

2. stupid cyclists who fly thru stop signs and traffic lights when I am in the crosswalk.

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

Then your issue isn't with bikes, it is with a group of people you have deemed annoying. What if these "hipsters" were flying through stop signs in cars? Oh wait, that already happens on a daily basis. You only choose to see a bicycle that breaks the law while the motorist that barely break taps at a stop sign goes unnoticed. Or how about the driver that pauses half way into a crosswalk, or tries to be the last car through a stop light and gets caught in the middle of the intersection and blocks traffic and pedestrians for a whole light cycle?

And the name is mikesonn.

 
At 9:56 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

As usual mikey, you divert the subject to drivers. Time and time again.

My comments were about bike riders, and I was throwing a bit of humor in there about hipsters in flip flops. did you miss that?

I guess if you call me Rocky, then I think it's ok that I call you mikey.

 
At 11:43 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

You call me "mikey" to demean me. Rocky vs Rocky's dad is just shorting your name. It's a sad joke on par with Rob calling everyone a "bike nut" just because they don't see eye-to-eye.

And I'm fully aware that your hipster/flip-flop comment was a joke, but you obviously hold some serious fear to a change in your way of life. You are comfortable, and walking/transit/biking shakes that world up a bit.

Also, you and Rob continually say no one wants to ride a bike because it isn't safe, but the next breath you say that the streets are safe and that nothing needs to change. You can't have it both ways.

I brought up the cars and childhood obesity because Rob said that children are brainwashed into biking when in fact they are far more inundated with tv commercials telling them to pressure their parents into buying a minivan with the dvd player. Also, there are 40k+ deaths by vehicles yearly within the US so driving is in fact much more dangerous then other modes of travel.

You can't just make unbased claims about biking without someone showing facts about driving. I wasn't out of line in any way, shape, or form.

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Also, you and Rob continually say no one wants to ride a bike because it isn't safe, but the next breath you say that the streets are safe and that nothing needs to change. You can't have it both ways."

You have it exactly backwards: it's City Hall and the bike people who are trying to have it both ways, downplaying the inherent dangers of cycling while exaggerating how dangerous city streets are, always with the implication that motorists are the primary safety problem facing cyclists in the city. As the city's own studies show, cyclists are responsible for half their own injury accidents due to reckless and unsafe practices.

I've never written anything like "no one wants to ride a bike because it isn't safe." Obviously a lot of people are willng to ride bikes regardless of the dangers. All I'm saying is it's irresponsible for the SFBC and City Hall to downplay the dangers of cycling, potraying it as some kind of green, win-win deal for everyone.

"I brought up the cars and childhood obesity because Rob said that children are brainwashed into biking when in fact they are far more inundated with tv commercials telling them to pressure their parents into buying a minivan with the dvd player."

I'm willing to stipulate that cars can be a dangerous means of transportation, but you aren't willing to do the same when discussing cycling. The city and the SFBC are pushing the Safe Routes to School program encouraging children to ride bikes to school, even though children's advocates warn parents about the dangers involved, especially the danger of head injuries.

"You can't just make unbased claims about biking without someone showing facts about driving. I wasn't out of line in any way, shape, or form."

Still, all you're doing is changing the subject from cycling to another "mode" of transportation. Of course driving and/or riding in motor vehicles can be dangerous, but the same is true for cycling. If you ride a bike long enough, you're going to have an accident, which is what this NY Times story illustrates. Long-time cyclists, like bike messenger Robert Hurst acknowledge this---he wrote a whole book on how to avoid getting hurt while riding a bike---but some SF cyclists hate to admit that for fear that it might discourage people from riding bikes.

The most ridiculous example of this came a few years ago, when, after those two cyclists were killed by a motorist who fell asleep at the wheel, the Bicycle Coalition quickly issued a press release accusing the media for exaggerating the dangers of cycling when all they did is report the story!

What's tiresome about your comments---and the same was true for Murphy when he was a serial commenter to this blog---is that you never read or even acknowledge the links I provide to back up my arguments.

I'm not going to publish any more of your comments on this topic until you at least make an attempt to do that.

 
At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you ride a bike long enough, you're going to have an accident - so what?

 

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