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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday, a guy on our ride was sitting in the back of the pack, noodling along at maybe 18 mph. Something kicked up a piece of plastic in the road. It was about eight inches long, and may have come off of a car or truck, because it was clearly sturdy stuff.
It got stuck, apparently, in the guy's front wheel spokes. When it came around to the fork, wham, it appears to have sheared off the fork. The guy hit the pavement very hard. Bad facial lacerations, broken cheekbone, goodly concussion (several seconds of no response, thrashing around making bad noises while trying to figure out what was going on, minutes to calm him and settle him with his head elevated).
Wacky. Scary.
 

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thank god you were doing ~18! i had a similar experience on a ride, but it got sucked into my rear and wasn't big enough to do more than make a loud noise...hope your riding partner is OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
he ain't that okay. his life isn't in danger, or anything, but a concussion is not a benign injury. it has some lasting effects.

what was scary, along with how quickly and unavoidably the whole thing went down, was how that fork snapped. I heard it go. Wasn't that damn big a deal. SNAP.
 

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Fork Snap

bill said:
he ain't that okay. his life isn't in danger, or anything, but a concussion is not a benign injury. it has some lasting effects.

what was scary, along with how quickly and unavoidably the whole thing went down, was how that fork snapped. I heard it go. Wasn't that damn big a deal. SNAP.
In your opinion, how much do you think the fork snap contributed to the seriousness of the crash. If the fork had held, do you think the plastic would have jammed between fork and frame, bringing the front rotation to an abrupt halt with likely similar results or do you think if the fork had held that the plastic would have dislodged to the side without a crash. And I suppose something in between is possible, plastic jams, limiting the wheels rotation but enough that rider could get the bike stopped or a foot down. These things happen pretty fast, so you might not have a view.

For those getting ready to flame me, I am not blaming the rider or absolving the fork maker, this is a serious question that I'm wondering what bill thinks, since he was there and I wasn't.

Scot
 

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Discussion Starter #5
you raise some good questions, and I don't have answers. And I didn't see it happen; I saw only the aftermath. In talking about it, we sort of could see that the same thing would have happened with a steel fork, but I almost wonder whether, even if the piece just had stopped the front wheel, instead of snapping the fork, the front wheel might not have skidded or something. Probably not. Probably the same thing would have happened. A guy argued that the snapping fork actually dissipated some energy, lessening the force with which the guy was pitched to the ground. That makes some sense, too.
Interestingly, the two sides of the fork were not sheared in the same spot, making us think that the piece of whatever snapped one side and that torque snapped the other. Not sure if it matters.
 

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Scot_Gore said:
In your opinion, how much do you think the fork snap contributed to the seriousness of the crash. If the fork had held, do you think the plastic would have jammed between fork and frame, bringing the front rotation to an abrupt halt with likely similar results or do you think if the fork had held that the plastic would have dislodged to the side without a crash. And I suppose something in between is possible, plastic jams, limiting the wheels rotation but enough that rider could get the bike stopped or a foot down. These things happen pretty fast, so you might not have a view.

For those getting ready to flame me, I am not blaming the rider or absolving the fork maker, this is a serious question that I'm wondering what bill thinks, since he was there and I wasn't.

Scot
I have been going along at 18 mph and I have had something get caught in my front brakes and flipped completely over the handlebars. I am pretty sure I would not have been able to roll out of that and I have stepped out of the mountain bike in similar crashes but I could see what was happening in the mountain bike crashes - there was no abrupt stop where something got caught in my front wheel. This happens as fast as the wheel rotates so possibly only Spiderman could recover from that kind of crash...
 

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bill said:
you raise some good questions, and I don't have answers. And I didn't see it happen; I saw only the aftermath. In talking about it, we sort of could see that the same thing would have happened with a steel fork, but I almost wonder whether, even if the piece just had stopped the front wheel, instead of snapping the fork, the front wheel might not have skidded or something. Probably not. Probably the same thing would have happened. A guy argued that the snapping fork actually dissipated some energy, lessening the force with which the guy was pitched to the ground. That makes some sense, too.
Interestingly, the two sides of the fork were not sheared in the same spot, making us think that the piece of whatever snapped one side and that torque snapped the other. Not sure if it matters.
Well, to speak to the guy who said the fork snapping may have disipated some hurling energy, while that's certainly theorically possible, the fork snapping also gurantees a catistrophic crash. If the fork holds I can see the possibility (slim I think) of getting off the bike some other way than over the bars.
 

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bill said:
he ain't that okay. his life isn't in danger, or anything, but a concussion is not a benign injury. it has some lasting effects.

what was scary, along with how quickly and unavoidably the whole thing went down, was how that fork snapped. I heard it go. Wasn't that damn big a deal. SNAP.
FYI, do NOT raise the head of people w/ suspected head injuries or with obvious facial trauma from such an accident. Such things mean that the cervical spine may be compromised. It'd suck to raise a guy's head and end up compromising his spinal cord. Head raising doesn't do anything, anyway. If he's got difficulty breathing, address that by thrusting his jaw forward or clearing obstruction in his mouth or oropharynx. You can't address a rise in intracranial pressure by raising the head.

Hopefully the guy will be ok. Scary sounding crash.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
believe me, we didn't get him up. he got himself up. he was trying to get up on all fours; we had to restrain him all but physically to avoid his killing himself to stand up. it was all we could do to get him settled on his back reasonably comfortably after a couple of minutes. And I do mean more than a minute -- it was wild. he was sort of bucking us, rolling around, trying to get up.
I thought settling him in such a way to pick his head up a little might slow the facial bleeding -- he was bleeding pretty badly for a while. But you're probably right -- we should have got him supine on the street as soon as possible.
 

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Seen crap thrown up all the time on group training rides. The people in the front have to be paying attention. I once managed to duck under piece of wood that almost looked like a 2x4 kicked up by a rider in front of me. I stopped doing group rides once I stopped racing. I don't trust random strangers to know how to hold a line or point out stuff on the road.

In terms of the fork breaking--whether or not it made things worse--it's not real confidence inspiring. I won't ride a carbon fork.

Hope your friend is okay.
 

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Saw a similar accident a few months ago. The guy kicked up a pretty stout stick (maybe 3/4" in diameter). It got caught in his Ksyrium's spokes and jammed across his Roubaix's fork sending him flying over the bars. The fork cracked but did not snap off. He also had some fairly bad facial lacerations and a bit of a concussion. Not sure if he broke some bones or not.

Seems to me that regardless of the fork material, if something jams across the fork in the spokes, you are going down hard, face first, real fast. No freakin' way you can react fast enough when going 18 mph to keep from doing an endo.

Pags
 

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Borrowed Time

My front wheel came to abrupt stop once and I am still considering myself quite lucky (certainly nothing else) for actually landing on my feet. Not a scratch. Trashed the bike.

A riding buddy was towards the back of the group when a jacket came loose from someone up ahead. The jacket tangled in his front wheel and he went over the top. The EMTs picked him up and he had been unresponsive on life support for ten days when the plug was pulled.

Folks, there are some events that can be prevented, some avoided and still some things just happen. Relating these experiences here brings us nose to nose with unpleasant and finite consequences. We can do just so much to protect ourselves from these circumstances. My buddy wasn't wearing a helmet, never did. None of us could know for certain how much difference it might have made in his case, but I know that I always will wear mine because I will still be riding even though I've already burned up a couple lives of my own....

Best wishes to your friend, Bill....
 

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Scot_Gore said:
Well, to speak to the guy who said the fork snapping may have disipated some hurling energy, while that's certainly theorically possible, the fork snapping also gurantees a catistrophic crash. If the fork holds I can see the possibility (slim I think) of getting off the bike some other way than over the bars.
yeah... if the fork holds you can go off the side instead :p
 

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bill said:
Yesterday, a guy on our ride was sitting in the back of the pack, noodling along at maybe 18 mph. Something kicked up a piece of plastic in the road. It was about eight inches long, and may have come off of a car or truck, because it was clearly sturdy stuff.
It got stuck, apparently, in the guy's front wheel spokes. When it came around to the fork, wham, it appears to have sheared off the fork. The guy hit the pavement very hard. Bad facial lacerations, broken cheekbone, goodly concussion (several seconds of no response, thrashing around making bad noises while trying to figure out what was going on, minutes to calm him and settle him with his head elevated).
Wacky. Scary.
another instance where not wearing a helmet would have led to death...
 

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I was thinking about whether the broken fork made things worse. Seems to me that if it held the mass of the rider and bike would rotate around the front axle, providing a wider arc, slower rotation, more time to react. The fork breaking off would result in the front dropping straight to the ground and planting your face in the asphalt.
Not an expert, but with 25 years of BMX and MTB racing behind me, I've gone over the bars more than a few times.
 

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Last April

my friend and I were riding and one of the guys off the front pointed out some trash in the road, (bearing cap, off a trailer) the signal went back, but I can only assume my friend did not see it. Anyways he went down, hard. Broken cheek bone, busted rib,broken nose, busted helmet.and worse a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain or a clot) He was in the hospital 15 minutes later and just barely got out with his life. He's doing fine now,but still has issues. It happens faster then you think possible.
 

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Wishes for a speedy recovery

I appreciated your group's hospitality when Philippe was in town and I rode with all of you last year. News of bike accidents always gives me a "but for the grace of God go I" feeling. But, it especially hits home when it happens to someone in a group with which I have ridden. There is not much I can say other than my thoughts are with your teammate and I wish him a speedy recovery. Best regards,

Mark
 

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I've had two road crashes in the last year, one due to mechanical failure (chain came off in a sprint) and one due to weather (wet wooden bridge). Both times I was on the ground before I knew what had happened. Does seem much faster than on the trail. I attribute my walking away to part luck, and part training. I've got a black belt in Taekwondo, and have spent years learning how to fall. Do it enough and the body reacts without thinking.
 
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