It had become a habit of mine to draft cars on my 24 speed road bike. You know, match the car speed and get 1 foot away from the bumper; this acts as a vacuum by literally pulling you forward with little effort. Sounds pretty fun, right? It was, until my family’s fears became my reality.
The morning of November 12, 2010, there was nothing unusual about my commute. I was drafting a car at around 25 mph and about to follow it around a turn in the road, when the driver slammed on his brakes coming to a dead stop. With no time to react, I plowed into the back of his car, and flew head first hitting his trunk (no, I didn’t have a helmet on). It knocked me out. When I woke up, I noticed that I was missing the teeth on the right side of my face and panicked! Not thinking, I tried to recruit the bystanders to help me find my teeth, with no success, that were now strewn all over the road. They just stared at me with horrified looks on their faces. Can’t blame them, after all, I was a bloody mess.
Adrenaline pumping, I called my boss and left a message on his cell telling him about the accident and apologized for having to miss work. I hung up and called my father.
Me: “Hey dad”
Dad: “Are you okay? You sound different.”
Me: “No, I just got owned by a car. I’m missing my teeth. I’m going to the hospital.”
Dad: “Kurtis wha…”
– Click – (I hung up, not feeling up to answer any questions)
The driver, Richard Something-or-other, (I think it’s pretty funny his name is Dick too!) approached me and asked if I needed an ambulance.
Me: “Do I have any teeth?”
Richard: “Well, it doesn’t look good.”
Me: “Call me captain obvious, but I think the answer you were looking for is yes.”
Not in the best of moods, I asked him why he thought it would be a good idea to slam on his breaks. His reason was that he saw a pedestrian slowly walking on the sidewalk near the crosswalk, and wasn’t sure if she was going to cross. It all happened very fast, but I do remember this woman slowly walking ON THE SIDEWALK!
When the police officer got there, he questioned Richard, then me, and the pedestrian. Due to the fact that our recollections conflicted, (Dick said she was in the crosswalk, and I called him on his bullshit) the police officer then asked the woman if she was in the crosswalk. She said “no, I had no intention of crossing the street.” Soon after, I blacked out and woke up in the hospital a few hours later…
- On their way out, my teeth tore the inside of my mouth to shreds = 7 stitches
- Right thigh = basketball size contusion
- Somehow the collision ripped half of the eyebrow off the right side of my face, in addition to a large portion of the skin above in on my forehead = 11 stitches
- Totaled road bike = -$450.00
Doctor John and Doctor Kurt (my first name is Kurtis and my middle name is John—weird, right?!?) explained the importance of wearing a helmet when riding bike, and informed me how lucky I really was. As soon as my tire hit the bumper, I was propelled face first, hitting the trunk of the car. The brunt of the impact was absorbed by my face. If I hadn’t turned my head at the last second, and remained looking forward, they sad there is no doubt I would be paralyzed or dead.
With a new appreciation for life, I happily greeted the nurse when she walked in. She delivered the news. I couldn’t leave the hospital until someone came to get me. Fully clothed and ready for the day, I confidently told her that my parents were waiting for me in the reception area. (They weren’t. They didn’t even know what hospital I was taken to.) Satisfied with my response, she gave me a prescription for pain pills, and sent me on my way.
As I strolled back to my apartment, I called my dad again. He instantly picked up and had endless amounts of questions, also letting me know he and my mother had just arrived (a two hour drive from their house) at my apartment complex. As I approached them, my mom smiled, laughed, and sarcastically told me how good I looked. My dad immediately wanted to take a look at my teeth to assess the damage. (He is a dentist…the best of the best…a natural when it comes to fixing pearly whites.)
I spent the next day in my dad’s dental office getting my new teeth. It was magic. He freehandedly crafted teeth on the spot. In a matter of hours, he was finished!
I was back to work three days after the accident, ready to heal and move on with my life. Things were going pretty well. I was able to take the stitches out a couple days later, and the swelling continued to decrease each day. Then, about one month after the accident, Dick’s insurance company sent me a letter informing me that I owed them $6,500 for the damages to his vehicle…
- Don’t draft cars.
- If you are unmoved by this story and still want to draft cars, then make sure to be on the right or left side of the bumper so you have time to avoid collision if the driver hits his breaks.
- Wear a freakin helmet at all times. Yes, even while walking.