Odds were that it would happen eventually: After riding my Earth-Cycles Dragonflyer for over 6 years and 7000 miles, I got hit by a car. Here's the story:
On the morning of 4-Jan-05, around 9am I was riding to work in downtown Bellevue, WA. I was on Main St. heading east in the middle of the right lane. I had just gone over the I-405 overpass and was approaching the intersection with 112th Ave, going 20-25 mph. The signal at the intersection was red, and there were two or three cars in front of me. I don't know the exact distance, but I was probably less than 100 feet from the waiting cars when I felt something hit me. I felt the trike turn to the left (presumably because the back of the trike was being pushed to the right) and then I went flying towards the pavement forward and to the right.
I got up immediately and saw the van sitting there and yelled something like "what's the matter with you?" (though some more colorful words were mixed in there). I dragged the trike off the pavement (two of the wheels wouldn't roll) and evaluated my wounds: teeth all intact, though I was bleeding profusely from my lower lip and chin. My right hip and knee were scraped up and hurting, as was my left elbow. The driver of the van just sat in his van; he never got out or said a word to me. Fortunately, this happened a block from the police station, so an officer was there within a minute or two, and a couple of paramedics a minute or two later. They checked me out and said I didn't have any serious wounds (though they pointed out the big chunk torn out of the right front rim of my helmet), so they left me with the police to sort out what happened.
Another officer (Asheim was his name) showed up with a van and he had me sit in there, since I was dressed for riding in 30 degree weather, not for standing around in 30 degree weather. The officer said that the driver says he didn't see me and that I must have veered off the sidewalk. Thankfully, the officer said that the former was no excuse, and that, looking at my trike, the latter was near-impossible, and that I didn't seem the sort to do that sort of thing (an accurate statement). I also pointed out my, now broken, 6' rainbow colored safety flag and the array of blinkers and reflectors. In addition it was a perfectly clear and sunny day (it isn't always raining in Seattle!). The driver got a ticket, though I don't recall, just now, for what, though, as I recall, it was to the effect of "not paying attention".
It took them, what seemed to be, a long time to sort this out. During this, the president of Postal Express showed up and apologized to me.
Since I had no way to get the trike back home, and I lived a few blocks away, the officer offered to haul it home for me. But, the trike being the size that it is, it wouldn't fit in the back of the van, so in an exceedingly ironic twist, they loaded it into the van that hit me, and we all drove up to my apartment and they put it in my garage.
From there, it was off to the emergency room, since I was still bleeding and pretty messed up. It was one of the first below-freezing days, so the emergency room was packed, and I was way back in bed 17. The woman next me was much worse off as her car spun on ice and then got hit by a truck. When they checked me out and said it wasn't serious, I told the doctor that "it's only a flesh wound" and he responded with the appropriate line from the Monty Python's Holy Grail :-) After several hours, I had 7 stitches in my chin and many bandages, and they discharged me. I took a taxi home and the driver asked how I was doing, which I thought was a dumb question considering I was limping out of an emergency room :-)
My own doctor said it was fortunate I was in such good shape, otherwise the damage would have been much worse. The cuts on my chin are healing up, and it looks like I won't have too big of a bald spot in my beard and my other wounds are healing over (though my elbow will have a big scar). My wrist doesn't hurt much anymore, but my right ribs are still sore. (Update: within a few months I was back to normal)
My memory of getting flung off the trike is pretty fuzzy, but based on my wounds this is what I think happened: I went flying forward and to the right (since the van was pushing the back of my trike to the right), between the wheel and pedals. My elbow and left thigh hit the pedals and/or chain wheel (the former were nasty cuts), my right armpit collided with the right bar-end shifter (hence, the bruise near my armpit and my sore ribs. I hit the pavement on my right side, gouging up my chin, right knee and right hip, not to mention taking a chunk out of my helmet, and breaking my helmet-mounted headlight. In the process, I must have put out my left hand to break my fall (hence my sore wrist)
In summary, I think I was saved from more serious wounds because of:
In Feb, I got a summons: The person who hit me was contesting his ticket for "inatention to driving"! He kept trying to claim that my trike was not street legal and that I did not have a flag (I wish I had brought it with me). Fortunately, the judge was having none of it, she said he had a responsibility to see others on the road.
However, this whole thing did clarify what happened: he was changing lanes when he hit me (probably while looking at his dispatch sheets or somesuch). So his right edge of his bumper must have hit my rear rack, which would explain why I was flipped to the right.
I took the trike to Dale at Angle Lake Cyclery and he determined it was a total loss as both halves of the frame are damaged. Replacement is out of the question since Earth Cycles is out of business. So, what do I replace my trike with?
So here are some random thoughts about what I did/didn't like about the Dragonflyer: