Injured from riding? Or not? Tell us here....

ct8282 Posts: 414
edited June 2013 in Road general
I'm just getting into this road riding business and loving it. I read loads of threads over the weeks and couldn't quite understand the passion that most of you have for riding, but now I get it.

However, I also note quite a few threads about people sustaining very serious injuries so this got me to thinking? How common are serious offs and what are the common causes?

So, if you've had a crash or other accident tell us about it. What happened, what injuries were sustained, bike damage, and what was your recovery? Might be worth also mentioning how long you've been riding, what type of riding you do and how often you're out riding.

Also, if you've never had an off or sustained an injury feel free to talk about your riding, what riding you do and how often as well. This will help gauge proportions of riders who have sustained injuries against those who haven't.

Maybe from this info we can start to spot some patterns or things that we should all take into account when we go riding.


  • Nodders
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
  • Lycra-Byka
    Lycra-Byka Posts: 292
    See my "why did this happen?" thread

    My first big crash. Broken bones, cuts ,bruises, hundreds of pounds worth of damage ect.

    How do I feel?
    Like I'm desperate to get back on my bike. Initial thought on crash impact was "this is gonna ruin my hard work training this year"

    What have I gained from it?
    Scars, more respect towards bike maintainence. First crash fears have been removed.

    How do I ride?
    Confident and safe (my own opinion of course)
    Yet aggressive, balls out and do feel I push the bike to its limits not mine.

    How long have I been riding?
    Road bikes- a year
    Mtb-10+ years (have switched now, don't own one)

    150 a week. Mostly rural. (crash happened in town -nothing to do with anyone else though)
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    The vast majority of injuries are going to be down to vehicle/cycle interface - the good old SMIDSY. But there will be a few where the cyclist was riding like an idiot, either cutting down the inside of someone who is about to move off or not working out where they will end up once they get there. I think mechanical failure is probably proportionately high too.

    I have to say one of my biggest issues is what I would call the Road Racer mentality. Sooo many cyclists treat the road as a race track. Just the other day I was overtaken by two cyclists who moved to the off-side on a blind left hander to pass me on a down hill. they then cut across me for the right hander and swung out to take a left turn blocking the entire lane and forcing me to slow hard. All to take seconds of their lap times or "beat" the cyclist in front of them who was not riding with them.

    Not wanting to tempt fate, but my crashes injuries are all Mtb. Mostly cuts and grazes and pulled muscles.
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    So far just the one crash, will cruising along at about 15mph during Winter last year and got distracted by the stars. Venus and Jupiter were close together and remember wondering if thats what I was looking at. Next thing I know I hit a pot hole, only had one hand on the handlebars and I go arse over face. Sprained my wrist but the Bike was ok other than a few scuffs. Started riding in April 2011 and done about 2.5k miles so not to bad. The only other injury possibly cycling related was Piles, that was not fun!
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • ct8282
    ct8282 Posts: 414
    Some good comments so far. The point about 'more respect for bike maintenance' was interesting too.

    Will be interesting to hear how others accidents happened to see if the bike maintenance or bike mechanical failure comes up often.
  • Lycra-Byka
    Lycra-Byka Posts: 292
    I do fall into that "treat it like a race track" mentallity I suppose. (I think I'm fast but I'm not)

    I would never put anyone else at risk though, I just like to push the corners and descents. I accept my fate. These machines are meant to be pushed otherwise throw a shopping basket on your Spesh Venge or whatever. Sometimes though there is nothing better than slowing right down to hear, see and experience the countryside just to remind yourself why it is you started cycling.(it is in my case-the quest for speed came later)
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Been riding since I was seven years old - so 1965. In that time I have had a few 'off's but not many. Went over the handlebars while pedalling madly down a footpath, aged 8, and bashed my knee - was on crutches for a couple of weeks. Next big event was nearly 30 years later a SMIDSY when a farm truck ran a stop sign on a backroad (perfect visibility; he had no excuse) No injuries, just shaken up. The following year, when I was doing a 10,000 mile solo trek around Australia I took a header on a backroad in Western Australia when the pavement more or less vanished around a curve on a steep hill - one moment smooth, the next like a riverbed. Broke ribs, fractured shoulderblade, needed a bunch of stitches in my arm and wrenched tendons in my right shoulder.

    Sixteen more years passed without incident until this past February when I hit a bit of black ice (and on a morning when logic said there shouldn't have been any!) and dumped myself rather hard. Broke some ribs and did a fair bit of soft tissue damage to the same shoulder I injured in Western Australia back in '97. Off the bike for a couple of months thanks to the shoulder injury - it is still achy now - but am riding again, as of a fortnight ago. Did 30 miles just this morning.

    THings happen. Keep a canny eye out, learn from your mistakes (and those made by others) and you will be fine.
  • craigr
    craigr Posts: 53
    Done over 5,000 miles in last few years and so far only had 1 major off. Had a few falls after going clipless, but that was my fault and no damage occurred.

    The major fall i had happened this year. I was our in the moors in frosty conditions and hit black ice going downhill at over 30 mph. Not much damage to bike, handlebar was slightly bent, but easily fixed. Recovery was straight forward and i was back on the bike after a couple of months. Luckily i wear a helmet as it took quite a bit of damage too and was cracked through. It also did not put me off cycling.

    Main thing is to keep aware of your surroundings (watch out for potholes, cars, animals, etc.) and keep in control of your bike. I also try and keep off the main busy roads where possible.
  • Ricey83
    Ricey83 Posts: 103
    I've had 1 big crash in my 6 months of road cycling where I was travelling downhill and hit a pothole, went down hard on my elbow, head and hip. Sat up to realise I'd broken my collarbone which turned out to be in 3 peices. Only had to replace a bent derailleur hanger on my bike so not all bad...

    Off the bike for 8 weeks and I've not had any issues with it since and it hasn't put me off trying to hit top speeds on the downhills which I'm surprised about but I have noticed that I'm more cautious taking right hand bends due to that being the side of the break and me worrying about the front end washing out...
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    Fell over one of the first times I wore cleats - I had to break suddenly due to my daughter stopping right in front of me. Pulled a few muscles, pride and confidence injured, rarely worn cleats since - but have just got them out again to work on my climbing.

    Close call one very rainy day, did 25 miles with hills that were more like rivers. Everything fine then I slid turning into my own road at the end - I was on auto pilot and didn't adapt to the atrocious conditions. Scared the driver behind me, but no other harm.
  • nick1972
    nick1972 Posts: 144
    I've been riding since September and other than the odd clipless moment I've had one off. I had an incident where white van man got way too close. I clipped the kerb as I moved over and ended up with a broken elbow. I've had almost 8 weeks off the bike and miss riding so much. Thankfully no damage to the bike.
  • Lycra-Byka
    Lycra-Byka Posts: 292
    My motto is -you gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough-
  • Headhuunter
    Headhuunter Posts: 6,494
    2 big crashes now both whilst commuting.

    First I was heading along the Old Kent Rd, through the junction with Asylum Rd. As I approached the lights were red, I began to slow but they switched to green as I approached so I picked up speed. I think I glanced downwards whilst accelerating and I remember looking up and seeing that a driver who was coming from the other direction and wanted to turn right was doing so across my path, clearly without having looked properly. I bounced over the bonnet, took out the windscreen on the way through and ended up in a heap on the other side of the road. I was rushed to hospital on a spinal board for a full check, but I knew right away that nothing major was wrong, although I think I damaged my left hip slightly as it still clicks a bit today. Also needed 6 stitches to a gash in my leg - still got a scar there

    That was in 2009 and since then no incidents until Jan this year. I was approaching a junction behind a queue of cars moving quite slowly, they all wanted to turn left but I was going straight on. As they began to accelerate, I did a shoulder check and began to move into the middle lane to pass them and go straight. In the fraction of a moment I did this, the cars all slammed their brakes on and I clipped the rear right side of the last car and came down awkwardly and heavily, breaking my left arm. I wasn't travelling v fast this time and the medics told me that the main reason I broke my arm is that I was carrying a massive rucksack which weighed about 15-20kg. This extra weight passing through my arm broke it...

    So the moral is:
    Never, ever take your eyes off the road, things can change literally in the moment you glance in another direction

    Don't carry heavy rucksacks - the medics told me there are countless accidents with rucksacks every year which cause spinal damage etc... I use panniers now

    Take junctions v slowly, and especially be aware of traffic turning right from the opposite direction across your path to a turning on your left. Since the 1st crash I am very much more aware of this last point and have had other drivers almost clip me as they turn right. It's especially important to be aware of motorists on your side of the road in a queue letting a driver from the other direction pass through your side traffic to a turning on your left (they're turning right). Most motorists simply do not check for other traffic filtering through - cyclists, motorcyclists etc - and simply accelerate through quickly without looking so's not to hold anyone up. If you see a turning on your left always look out for someone turning right into from the other direction across your path
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • Over 40 years in the Saddle, Spilled lots of times especially as a teenager but, as regards to crashed I've had 3 that are noteworthy.

    First When I was in my 20's when a car overtook me at speed and turned a sharp left resulting in me going straight into the rear side of the car. This time I was just cut and bruised and the teenage driver wouldn't get out of his car as he told the police that the Guy on the bike looked like he was going to thump him. He was right I would have. Anyway the bike was a right off and it took months to get his insurance to cough up for a new one. This was over 20 years ago so didn't even consider injury compo.

    Second of note was coming down Hurly Gurly when on my mountain bike (boo, hiss I hear you all say - well I'll ride anything apart from the wife) after work one wet evening when I went over the bars on some rocks, the result was smashed glasses, big dent in helmet and one of the little bones in my hand poking through the skin. I tried pushing it back in but was scared I was going to pass out. The result was a long walk back to the car park, a longer wait in A&E, 3 weeks off the bike and a promise to myself that when cycling along late at night in such poor conditions to go a bit easier. The promise lasted about a week once I was back on the saddle!

    Third was something I mentioned on here a few times before, I went over the bars on some cobbles in Dent in the Yorkshire Dales. (again going to fast on v-bad surface) result broken arm in 3 places and a chunk of cartlidge missing from my elbow making one arm shorter than the other.

    None of the above has altered my attitude to cycling and when I go out tonight I will still push it a little and have fun. I see cyclists going through red lights at speed and think there taking too much of a risk. Have fun, bones heal and worse things are out there to get ya.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Done about 5000 miles in 18 months according to strava and apart from early cleat falls have had no offs and don't intend to. To be honest the thought scares me rigid and I'm over 60 and don't think I would heal that well. So I tend to ride very conservatively and defensively at all times which is also the way I drive and don't like high speeds and fast descents that much.I have had some near misses with drivers doing strange and unpredictable things but so far have survived...
  • elderone
    elderone Posts: 1,410
    Only started cycling last september and had one off when I was hit from behind by a 4x4.Was ambulanced to hospital but damage wasn,t as bad as ambulance suspected.Had 8 weeks off the bike.I,d be lying if I said it didn,t scare me but was always detemined to get on the bike again.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori
  • ct8282
    ct8282 Posts: 414
    edited May 2013
    Really cool thread so far. Some pretty scary stories and I'm surprised by how many of you had an accident caused by a run in with the 4 wheeled variety!

    This has certainly made me think I need to keep a close eye on the movement of cars near me.
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    A few spills as a child, one of which caused lasting injury. Riding downhill back from Cubs, my cap blew off and of course I just slammed on the brakes, causing the cyclist behind me to slam right into me. Over the bars I went and faceplanted the road. Broke a tooth and had it rebuilt by the dentist, so half of one of my front teeth is artificial.

    Then, 10 years ago, I had a car accident and when they x-rayed my neck it seems two of my vertebra are fused together at the base of the neck, I wonder if this was another consequence of that childhood crash.

    Since getting back on the bike, I have slipped off once on a greasy bike path resulting in road rash and bruised ribs, and had two clipless falls.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
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    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
  • ct8282
    ct8282 Posts: 414
    Good old clipless falls. They'll get you eventually.
  • Kerguelen
    Kerguelen Posts: 248
    Got a broken finger which means I'm off the road for at least a month. Going stir-crazy.
  • Southgate
    Southgate Posts: 246
    Two falls in the 1990s. One in Trafalgar Square where the front brakes came off and got caught in the spokes, and I went over the bars and landed on my face. My face was a bloody mess, and judging by the screams from passing tourists when I sat up, I must have looked like an escapee from a horror movie. All superficial road rash though, but it certainly taught me to maintain my bike properly.

    The second was when I got clipped by a car cycling down the Embankment near Parliament and broke my elbow in the fall. Nothing too serious (just a hairline crack), but it did take a few months of physio before I could fully straighten my arm.

    Since then, only the inevitable and harmless slow motion sideways fall at traffic lights when I first went clipless. Why is there always an audience of 20 laughing pedestrians when that happens?

    There's been a few nasty crashes in my bike club recently requiring ambulances, mainly caused by potholes on fast descents. Again nothing too serious: road rash, broken ribs, stitches, that sort of thing. A few weeks ago on a club ride, my training partner came off on an A road at 30 mph after slipping on black ice. He was lying in the middle of the road not moving, and I rushed over in a state of inner panic. But thankfully his bike was OK! :wink:
    Superstition begins with pinning race number 13 upside down and it ends with the brutal slaughter of Mamils at the cake stop.
  • NWLondoner
    NWLondoner Posts: 2,047
    I've had 2 offs and luckily didn't break anything 8)

    First was when a pedestrian walked right out in front of me and the second was going downhill on a damp, blind bend. :x

    In both accidents I walked/hobbled away with just some bruising and minor road rash. My left hip took full impact in both crashes,how I didn't break it in the 2nd crash ill never know :?

    Other people in the same scenario could have broken their collar bond and/or hip.

    It's the luck of the draw, next time it could be worse :shock:

    Remember its the slow speed crashed that can cause worse injuries.
  • Cabelly
    Cabelly Posts: 43
    I've only had a couple of embarrassing ones as in the time I started out from the middle of the road at a junction, stood up to accelerate and the chain jammed. I stopped dead and fell over in the middle of the road. Bruised hip and damaged pride. :oops:

    My one serious accident happened one Sat morning back in 2009.
    It was a gorgeous morning, felt great and was looking forward to a nice long ride. Didn't happen....I was out for about 15mins and then the next thing I remember was hearing someone saying 'Can you hear me the ambulance is on its way'
    Evidently I'd ploughed into the back of a parked van doing over 20mph. :shock:

    My first question ...... 'Is my bike ok !!!

    I don't know what happened. Perfect day, straight road, I don't ride with my head down. No witnesses being 8ish in the morning. :?

    Ended up with two broken bones in my neck, two broken ribs, chipped tooth and a whole host of other cuts and bruises and a missing bit of memory.

    As for the bike - Down tube concertina'd, head tube broke away from the top tube and the brake levers bent round. The end :cry: Did manage to salvage everything apart from the frame.

    Did it in July 2009 and back riding again in Feb 2010 and managed the Hampshire Hilly in May.

    I haven't really worried about it. Still going down hills as fast as I can. Wish I could go up them as fast.

    My attitude is if you think about it too much or worry about what might happen you'd never get out and ride.

    Just enjoy :D and wear a helmet. I was told it saved my life.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Returned to road cycling at the age of 50, but still ride like a teenager :oops: 6 years on and no major incidents; couple of very close shaves though. Did a Del Boy sideways clipped in fall into a field gateway last year :D

    Managed to go arse over tit on a hired MTB last year on Mt Teide. Took an interesting lump out of my elbow and bled a lot. That'll teach me for trying to show off in front of my workmates!
  • Dezcore
    Dezcore Posts: 34
    My injury while riding was just plain stupidity. Happened 2 weeks ago on the way to work.

    I cycle 9-19 miles to work depending on the route I choose. However not far from work, stopped at Farmfoods to pick up some pot noodles / snacks etc for the week so due to the increase in load decided to stick to the pavement and keep speed down. (allowed in Scotland thankfully)

    I was at a traffic light waiting to cross the road and pedaled off when the green man came on. Except I had been resting my right hand between the two button light mechanisms, and hadn't actually removed it before pedaling off. I very nearly got ripped right off my bike and if I had I probably would have broken something rather than the extremely sore ( I was screaming in the street but faded quickly although it is still painful now) issue I had. Caused me to miss a few days work.

    Other than slipping off pedal while starting off is only Injury I have sustained since I started cycling again (thanks to Ride2Work) last March. Have put in over 5000 miles so far and consider just the 1 injury pretty decent.

    PS. First post :)
  • FatTed
    FatTed Posts: 1,205
    Fractured Tibial Plateau, Grade 4 AC Joint disruption, Broken bike and Skin, Fractured 5th Metacarpal.
  • andy9964
    andy9964 Posts: 930
    Tearing down a straight road, on my MTB, on the way to work one day. There's a small piece of pathway which has closed off a side road and gives me a shortcut, running parallel to the road.

    I decide to 'bunny hop' onto it for the shortcut.........except it didn't quite work out like I thought.
    The back wheel must have caught the kerb, and, kind of ' high sided' me over the the bars head first

    Bear in mind, this was my first week back to work, having had 3 months off to have C5/C6 vertebrae in my neck fused.

    I somehow had the presence of mind to tuck my chin onto my chest, and landed squarely on my upper back, roll perfectly, then land on my knee as I continued forward.

    First port of call at work, was the nurse, to get butterfly sticky things put on the 1 inch gash, and a stern word about looking after my neck. The bike was okay

    As a side note: I Googled my name (Andy Lee) there's a guy, a year older than me, who had the exact same injury to his neck in a MTB accident, he's now paralysed from the neck down. Didn't take so many risks after reading that
  • CleeRider
    CleeRider Posts: 304
    10 months of cycling mostly clipless, training/riding hard most of the time... No offs, no clipless falls.
    Probably jinxed myself now :)
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    CleeRider wrote:
    10 months of cycling mostly clipless, training/riding hard most of the time... No offs, no clipless falls.
    Probably jinxed myself now :)

    My clipless fall sideways into a field gateway was the day after I'd posted on here that I'd never done it :D