Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rider in coma, bike basically fine

Today I'm doing a post-crash assessment on a road bike. The rider is out of the hospital now, but the first reports sounded very serious. I hear he looks pretty rough.

We first heard about the accident about a month ago.Maybe it's been longer, but in the autumn, certainly. The rider's wife told us they had been on a ride in Maine. He had crested a hill ahead of her and launched into the descent. When she crossed the summit and started down she saw a group of other riders gathered around the fallen form of someone she did not recognize until she got closer. He was unconscious.

None of the riders saw the crash. No one saw a motor vehicle near the time it happened. As is often the case with head injuries, the rider himself does not remember what happened.

Looking at the bike I can guess, but that's all. Based on the scuff marks I envision an endo after hitting a pothole or other pavement damage. The injuries to the rider combined with the lack of damage to the bike indicate to me that he took the major impact. The saddle is bent but not scuffed, so I think he was still between it and the pavement when it hit. The right brifter was twisted inward. Both brifters had scuff marks on the front of them. The rear derailleur hanger was bent in, but the scuff marks on the derailleur did not show a lot of sliding movement. There was no damage to either pedal. The wheels are barely out of true, although the front tire bead was crawling off the rim in one spot. The rims have no dents or flat spots. The tires look perfectly usable. They're both holding 100+ psi right now. There's no indication of skidding.

I hate not knowing. All any rider can do is pay attention. I've twitched the bike at speed to avoid bad pavement more than once. If I had been distracted I could have joined the ranks of the mystery crashers. But in the end we really don't know how this guy went down.

Let's all be careful out there.


Steve A said...

Perhaps a failed recovery attempt after a pothole or debris dodge. It'd look a lot like a diversion fall without the associated rim damage.

cafiend said...

I'd like to see his helmet and the scene of the crash. I will get a look at his injuries when he picks up the bike. Not exactly looking forward to that, but it does provide further information.