Getting hit: Gordon's run-in with a minivan

A few days ago -- July 4th of all days -- one of our extraordinary shippers, Gordon, was riding his bike into work to put in some early morning holiday hours. Unfortunately, he didn't make it into the warehouse that day, but not because he got sidetracked by an Independence Day parade or a BBQ. Nope, he was hit by a car.

Luckily, Gordon walked away without too many injuries, but it could have easily been much worse. He sat down with me to talk about the experience.


Q: First off, describe the accident. What happened?
A: I was heading down west… and a vehicle was coming eastbound. He turned left into a gas station, and he didn't see me -- probably because I didn't have lights. It was also dark and rainy. I had some reflective gear on, but it wasn't enough. He didn't see me, and he didn't turn on any blinkers or anything and we just collided. I hit his front passenger quarter-panel. I hit his hood and his windshield, and then I flew 20 feet into some grass just across the way.
Gordon's bike after the accident
He got out of his vehicle and asked if I wanted to go the hospital. I said yes. I was able to stand up and walked to his vehicle with his help. He put me in and took me to the hospital. My injuries were my right knee and left shoulder (both had x-rays, both were fine). I have scrapes on my left arm from the windshield wipers cutting me. [After] further investigation, I have a torn or strained ligament in my left shoulder. Nothing's wrong with my knees. They're just a little sore, still.

Q: Did you hit your head?
A: Yeah, I hit my head. I have a black eye. I had a swollen face and it hurt to chew for the first week.

Q: Good thing you had a helmet, huh?
A: Yes, helmets save lives. I will never not wear a helmet. Ever.

Q: What went through your head when you realized what had happened? When did you realize what had happened?
A: I saw the vehicle just before. I didn't have any time to brake. I remember grunting before hitting the vehicle. I don't remember hitting the vehicle, but I remember being in the air and then landing. I kind of… stood up briefly and then I was like, "I can't really walk," so I just sat back down and kind of moaned in pain. Nothing really went through my head. It all happened really quick. No life-changing experience in the air or anything.

Q: How did the driver handle it?
A: He took it pretty responsibly. He had his green card, [but] he didn't have a driver license, so as far as I'm concerned he's a really good Samaritan, because he put himself at risk. He could have just driven away and probably gotten away with it. They probably would have never found him. I remember in the hospital, I wrote down everything that I thought I knew about his vehicle and about him. All I wrote down was that he was not American, delivering newspapers, and he was in a white van. But he was in a brown van, so they would have never found the van off of my description.

Q: So were you a little out of it?
A: Probably a little out of it. I only glanced at the van shortly and looked at my bike from the ground. I saw my bike in half. It was just folded.

Q: What lessons have you learned? What wise words do you have for other cyclists?
A: Always have lights. Always have lights on if it's anywhere close to dark. Always, always, always wear a helmet. It doesn't matter how far you're going or how fast you're going, or if you're just going up the street. Just put a helmet on. It doesn't take that much time to do, and it saves lives. You never know. You can only be so defensive.

Q: Are you going to get back on a bike?
A: I'm going to get back on a bike. I just bought a new one. I'm stoked, but I can't really ride it yet until my shoulder's a bit better.


Needless to say, we're glad Gordon is still here shipping packages at Bikewagon.


 >>See our Bicycle Safety 101 guide at BWCC.

Nathan Moultonby Nathan MoultonGoogle+Nathan is the content director at Bikewagon.