Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Talk Ain't Cheap

While chatting on her cell phone & driving late last night, Suzy was distracted. She failed to stop at the stop sign.
The next thing she knew, was she hit something & her windshield was shattered.

She did not notice the bike rider in the bike lane with his lights on.
The bicyclist saw it coming as she blazed out in front of him, making a left turn- he knew he was about to get hit by a car.

He was wearing a helmet, & a heavy backpack, full of college books and a laptop computer.

The car struck him & the bike. He flipped backwards off the bike and landed on his back.
The thick backpack prevented his helmet protected head from ever hitting the ground, but his lower spine, tail bone, slammed into the pavement.

Here are photos of the bike:

The handle bars are not turned, thisshould be thestraight front view of the bike.

The bicyclist, is my 19 year old son.

When the Officer finished the accident report, I took him to the Emergency room to be checked out. There the Doctor said *if* his tailbone was broken, there was nothing they could do about it anyway, but to let it heal. His pain level was not indicitave of a break & after examination, the Doctor opted to not do an X ray.

The bike is toast. My son has scrapes and bruises, and white car paint marks on his work pants.

After we returned home, wired, tired at 2 am, It really sank in -- his bike took the hit & not him.
Thank God it is his bike that is all mangled and NOT his body. Bikes can be replaced- and I fully expect her insurance company to replace it- it was a nice mountain bike. They will be given the ER & any Doctor's bills to pay as well.

But by the grace of god, he is OK. I will drive him to his 10 am College class this morning, so he did not have to ride the bus.

But I am realizing how VERY fortunate he is to have walked away from this.

* The name was changed to protect the guilty, who was ticketed for being at fault & failing to yeild.

Talk ain't cheap when you are chatting on your cell phone, driving a vehicle & not paying attention to the road & or bicyclists.


DivaJood said...

Fran, your son is incredibly lucky! And thank god he had a helmet on his head. I think his realization that he was going to be hit might have helped him, and the backpack as well - and he will probably hurt later, as the adrenaline rush wears off and he simply settles in to what happened.

In California, it is against the law to drive, and talk on a cell phone without using a headset. So folks holding phones to their ears are getting pulled over, and we still see people yakking away, oblivious.

Your son is lucky. The bike is trashed, but that is replaceable. I'm so relieved for you that he is okay.

D.K. Raed said...

That mangled bike says it all, doesn't it? What a terrible experience, yet how much worse it could have been! Your son will be incredibly sore & bruised for awhile, too. Tailbones are extremely sensitive. Give him a variety of pillows to prop himself up with, to relieve the pressure points. I'm sure the hosp gave him some pain meds, too.

Drivers need to wise up about the cell phone distraction. The headset is better, but even then, the driver's attn is divided. Why not just turn 'em off while driving, pull over if you need to make/receive a call, or if others are in the car, let them respond. The driver is the ultimate responsible party for what their vehicle does.

Some yrs ago the only accident my husband had been in since he was a hotrodding teenager was when a woman plowed into a line of cars stopped at a red light. He was about the 3rd car up & ended up in a neckbrace. The woman admitted she'd been on her cell phone, infact she was talking on it from the time she emerged from her vehicle & continued talking on it the whole time people were waiting for police and ambulances to show up. She never said a word directly to any of the injured people. I hope your son at least got an apology.

Unknown said...

Fuck I hate just ate my long assed comment.

In CA people under 18 can't use their cell phones at all while driving and over 18 its a handsfree.

Any cellphone use is distracting when you drive..I know this personally.,

I am just glad the bike took the brunt of the hit. I can't begin to imagine all the emotions you are going through.

Fran said...

Oh, we realize that he was spared a very serious medical situation. I was scared to death when I got the call. The driver looked like she was 16, but she was 24. She was pretty shaken & crying when I got there.
But she moved her car totally away from the scene, which I thought was not allowed. You can move it to avoid creating additional accidents... but not out of sight away where shifty things can happen- like remove contraband, alcohol,. etc...
The officer asked her to bring it back to the 2 lane roadway, where then I realized the windshield was shattered.
Anyway.. he is very sore today & he refused Rx pain meds from the Doc, just taking aleve- but moving slowly and I notice having to take pressure off his lower spine.
He does the classic *guy thing*.... does not want to admit there is pain, but walking stiff & slow. I finally got him to ice it & keep the aleve flowing.

Diva- we are counting our blessings. Bikes can be replaced.

DK: Yes on the pillow front...
I insisted he take it slow today, because you don't want to screw around with back injuries.
Oregon does not have a no cell while driving law (yet), I have seen people driving questionably, only to see they are immersed in a cell phone conversation.
Hang up & drive!
I've told callers, I'm on a gnarly stretch of freeway gotta go.

Oh Dusty sorry Blogger ate your response.
It probably was wise & thoughtful & all that good stuff.
You of all people know just how serious back injuries are.

The driver was over 18, as was the bike rider.
But we don't yet have that law in Oregon.

So thanks for your kind words.
WE are sooo thankful it is not worse, but we are not signing off on anything from her insurance.

They gave us a paper to sign off on waiving all his Federal HIPA privacy of medical records for everything, ever.
We declined.

We will sign off on the records related to this accident only.

I gotta go get some sleep.

Dada said...

Thankful your son is still walking around today. This could have been so much worse!

"No cell phones for under 18 drivers" - is that to protect tender brain tissue from the possible cell phone - brain tumor link? Sometimes I think those who drive and talk may be proof of that (valid?) link.

And you're very wise to not sign anything from her insurance. As expedient as the insurance company wants this to be, it's strictly to cover their ass and limit their liability.

How'd the computer come through this? Lose any assignments?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dada: I was advised by my insurance people to be VERY careful of whatever I sign.

As for the laptop--- once it was determined my son was ok, and the poice report was taking forever.... I remembered he probably had his laptop in his backpack.
He took it out so see if there was noticible damage. I think it was sandwiched between some books the outer shell was intact, and he was able to get it to turn on.

That is as far as we went with it.

The officer was snarky w me, did not ant to do a sobriety test for the driver ( "don't tellme how to do my job"), and while waiting for teh report, I remembered my cell phoe has a camera so I took pics of teh bike & want to take a picture of the car & the drivers friend who showed up in a different car, get in my face & said they could not take pictures of thebike so I could not take pictures of the car.

It was a volatile situation, and I was since instructed that they could say whatever they want, but anything out in public CAN be photographed as public domain.

I did not want to create a scene , but several things went wrong there- including teh lady totally moving her car from the accident.
She drove it off the street & back into the mfd home housing complex she was driving out of
when she hit my son.

The insurance rep told us Oregon State has a 6 year statuate of limitations re the laptop.
If anything goes wrong with in within that time, the ins co is liable.

Not sure if they do a market value thing where they de value it & pay a lower price, one guy @ the bike shop said ins generally pays less than the actual value.

Thing is comperable mountain bikes or the new hybrids are running about $400 bucks.

May as well spend the $70 tp $80 bucks on the super heavy lock-- Eugene has one of the highest bike theft rates in the country.
Right up there w New York.

A couple doing a cross country ride for sustainability had her bike & burley trailer with all her gear & clothes stolen in broad daylight this week.

What a world!


enigma4ever said...

I am so glad that he is okay...geeez...hellish...and amazing that he survived her stupidity....I am so sorry about the douchebag of a cop too....

what a world...that is one way to put it...