3 minute read

Exactly two months ago I was out on my very usual bike route and I heard the radar warning me that a car was behind me, then I heard the car braking hard and finally felt the car smashing into the bike, throwing the bike (and me) forward while it slid into a ditch by the road with its rear end. Next thing I know I’m on the ground and the car is revving hard, trying to get out of the ditch. After a few seconds the driver managed to get out of the ditch and drove away without even looking at me. Luckily I was composed enough to remember the car license plate and model (my dad was a car mechanic when I was a kid so I grew up around cars). So I did the usual, called emergency services which lead to spending hours in the ER to get checked and I found that I have an L1 vertebrae fracture. Waited 3 days for the neurosurgeon to come and tell me that I need to wear a brace and rest. Life lesson, don’t get into an accident in Croatia. Luckily the injury wasn’t something that would require surgery, just rest for 8-12 weeks and then back to (hopefully) normal life.

My broken bike in the front, and broken body in the ambulance

Since there isn’t anything I can do now to change the situation (I did my best to move as far right as possible, even going off the road onto gravel), I was thinking really hard on how I could have improved my chances of avoiding this situation. I already have a Garmin radar on the bike that warns me on traffic incoming from the rear. This device has saved my ass multiple times already, because especially on long rides, it’s easy to lose focus sometimes, and the audio signal brings the focus back immediately. I have multiple lights on the back regardless of time of day, and one on the front when it’s dark. And I make sure I’m as visible as possible. Doing all that, I still ended up on the ground, with a fractured spine and a destroyed bike. Weird situations happen all the time, a friend got knocked off his bike a couple of weeks before I had, the driver’s vision was obstructed by a sun glare and he couldn’t see the cyclist on the road so he “clipped” him with the side mirror. The difference between my friend’s case and mine is that the driver stopped immediately to check up on him and apologised. My driver on the other hand, is an asshole that fled the scene and denied the accident when caught by the police two days after. Okay, people panic, freak out and escape, but not having enough decency to accept your mistake and apologise later is not something to strive towards. I had the greatest luck that I wasn’t left bleeding unconscious on the side of the road, or dead on the spot. My family would never know what really happened. Dark thoughts aside, accepting the current reality is what took me some time. Yeah I can be injured and need a few weeks to recover, but after a month it became really annoying. Talking to the second neurosurgeon (I wanted to have a second opinion regardless) helped me accept the current status and future options. There is a very high chance that I won’t have long lasting consequences. There is an absolute chance that I have to start training my core & support muscles if I want to heal this as soon as possible. I have to mostly rest (or do easy walks) for another month or so, and then we can reassess the situation. The new “normal” is somewhat boring, but I’m getting used to it, I’m just sad that I can’t help around the house as much as I did before. The situation has given me time to ponder life and different options and I’m finally writing again. Not as much as I would like, of course. It takes a lot of time to get back into that habit. Taking it one day at a time though.