Crash Report

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
435
103
Tokyo
#1
TCCer down, and this time it is me. So I thought I would post a quick report / warning about the road I was on.

On Sunday 11th Aug I was about coming down a road that I have done many times before, a back road from route 138 to Odawara here. I was going my normal speed, looking forward to pizza at the station at the finish of my ride. Conditions were good, dry road, although it was very hot.

The road has several drainage ditches which are covered with metal grates. I'm usually a bit cautious over these, especially in the wet. Even when dry they shake the bike a bit. But on Sunday as I crossed one I felt my front wheel give way, then the bike stopped completely and spat me onto the ground head first. I thought the grating had collapsed, but in fact there were two separate grates with a narrow gap between them, just wide enough for my tyre to slip down. I did not even see that there was nothing to support my wheel. So my front wheel had hit the far side of the ditch with a lot of force.
Like this
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But the gap was the same as the grating pitch. (Thanks joewein for finding this pic)

I just had time to realise I was going to crash hard, then my head hit the ground. My helmet took the direct impact, my sunglasses exploded into about 20 pieces, then I was flipped over onto my back. I did not slide or tumble, just stopped.


The outcome:
30+ stitches to the face and mouth
Cracked vertebra
Ruined frame and front wheel
Helmet crushed
Bent saddle
One week off work

This was my hardest crash in all my years of biking and I never want to hit the road that hard again!
Take care out there everyone.
AlanW.

 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,661
477
103
Japan
#2
Wow, that gap is lethal. When you feel better you should report the gap to the roading authority so they can wire them together. You probably got off lightly. The face stitches will heal in a couple of weeks, been there, done that. Hope the vertebrae isn't too serious and glad your cognitive function is all okay (helmet debate?). Time to start planning the new bike. Take care and all the best for a speedy recovery.
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#4
Yeesh. Hope your recovery is as quick as possible.

Is there any way to claim for the damage to your bike? Is there even any kind of insurance coverage for this kind of accident?
 

Sheep

Maximum Pace
Jul 27, 2009
285
54
48
Tokyo
#8
Take plenty of rest and thanks for the report. Looks like you're healing well. Thank god you were wearing your helmet!
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#11
Alan, I'm much relieved to see that you're recovering well and that the effects weren't even more serious.

I had found the picture I posted in Positivo Espressos excellent "Tokyo: Road, Signs, Rules" article. I bet you will aim for the middle portion of such grate segments for a while, well away from where they join (or not, as the case may be)...
 

Musashi13

Maximum Pace
Aug 27, 2012
1,772
1,104
143
41
Ichikawa, Chiba
#13
Your report makes for gruesome reading and spells out how these things can happen to anyone, no matter the experience leel. I share in wishing you a speedy recovery and trust the trauma will not rattle your riding.

Thanks for sharing your crash report and photos, I won't be showing the wife.
 
May 30, 2013
33
4
18
49
#15
Get better soon mate. Look on + side, could've lost your teeth or had a Lipovitan dosed truck driver coming down behind you. Take care.
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#18
Alan (and Naomi-San), I am shocked to see the pictures of your accident. I hope you will recover fully and quickly. My sincere and best wishes. Philip.
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#19
Alan:
Best wishes for a speedy recovery, and relieved to hear that it was not worse -- sounds like it could have been!
You definitely should report the crash and the road condition that caused it ... would hate for them not to fix it.
David