Another Accident

Well now I've been on both sides of an accident. I can tell you that it sucks to be hit as much as it does to do the hitting.

While visiting family in Colorado, some of us decided to drive up to the small mountain town where my great-grandmother was born. So the five of us piled into my great-grandmother's car (my wife and I, my mom, my great-grandmother and my great aunt who was driving). We get about 30 minutes down the road (small back country highway) and see a kid on a bike up ahead. (a teenager on a BMX style bike). He wasn't keeping a real straight line but we gave him a bunch of room and went on to pass him. As we passed he swerved wide to the left and slammed into our front fender.

We, of course, called 911 and went to check on him and make sure that other cars didn't come by and make the situation worse. Fire and the ambulance were there awful quick and the State Patrol arrived a short bit afterwards. My aunt was very shook up. She basically broke down into tears on three different occasions. This type of thing being almost old news to me, I was able to calmly change the tire on the car and take pictures of the scene (in case it is needed for insurance purposes).

I believe the kid will be alright. His left elbow was pretty beat up. It collided with the windshield and broke it (leaving a good bit of flesh). He had some road rash up his back and a cut on the right side of his head (not from the car, probably from falling off his bike). He was not in a helmet.

(I should take a moment to point out my stance on helmets. I always wear my helmet. I do not wear my helmet to protect me from cars, but rather to protect me from my own stupidity. Sometimes I don't unclip soon enough or I'll unclip the wrong foot, or I might hit a bad bump and fall over. The helmet protects me from falls. I know that a piece of styrofoam is not going to protect me from a moving vehicle and I don't let it give me a sense of invincibility on the roads.)

The police noticed the skid marks from our braking showed that the passenger side tires were just a foot to the right of the center line at the time of the accident and decided not to cite her. The insurance company is (we believe) treating this like an accident with an uninsured motorist and is covering the cost of the body repairs to my great-grandmother's car.

I am thankful that this situation did not end worse for anyone involved. The insurance is covering the damage and my aunt was not cited. My aunt's wits were shot for the rest of the day but she will probably be fine. The kid hopefully has insurance that will at least cover most of his medical expenses (the EMTs determined that he should be transported to the hospital). His injuries looked very similar to those Emily suffered when she fell three weeks ago so I trust that somewhere between learning the joys of vicodin he will take stock of his riding and try to be a little more aware of what is going on around him. (I just hope he doesn't give up cycling.)

The lesson? I guess to be aware of vehicles on the highway when you are riding and hope that everyone else is doing the same. Otherwise, it was just an unfortunate situation for everyone involved (I got a sunburn on my head because I left my hat in the car).

Be careful out there!


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