A couple of weeks ago, I was in Taipei, on the bottom of Fuxing North Road. I was stopped at a light and waiting for it to change. It was nearing to the end of the count. As usual, more and more scooters and cars tried to get through before the lights changed to red. This was on a Saturday, so traffic was somewhat light compared to the rush hour. The light changed, and I was ready to go, when I saw that more scooters were trying to get through. Some of them thought that they could go through the light, but obviously couldn’t. Traffic started moving, and one girl was driving too fast for her own good. She tried to turn away from the traffic, but hit another scooter. Then she hit the pavement. She was wearing a helmet, but it wasn’t a full face helmet. Luckily she wasn’t going too fast. I left to run my errands.
Stuff like that happens all of the time in Taipei. People aren’t careful enough when riding their scooters and rarely wear enough protection. These things go fast. My new scooter reaches 110 kph, pretty quickly.
I had hobbled home from the hospital. Some neighbors wondered what had happened. I told them in my limited Mandarin about the accident. I hobbled back upstairs to my apartment and finally was able to put my leg up. My legs had gotten the worst of the fall. I must have somersaulted over the front of the car, as it had hit me at an angle, impacting my scooter and throwing me over the top of it. I remember waking up in pain with blood flowing down my legs.
After I got up, worked a bit, caught up on some news, I walked the dog. Then, I hailed a cab for the short drive down to the scooter shop. I told them about my accident and that we needed to pick up my scooter. This is the one shop that I have dealt with for four years. They are very dependable and have picked me up many times before whenever my scooter broke down.
Yesterday, after I had spent 2 hours on the sofa, I got up. The blood rushed to my legs and to my wounds. The pain became almost overwhelming, but I managed to hobble to the dining table. Then, I started to feel as I would lose consciousness. My eyesight was graying, and sounds were muffled. I was also dizzy. Once I was back down, it was OK, but it was still an interesting experience.
On my way home from work on Friday evening, at around 9PM, I was driving along a street when an old Mercedes-Benz E-Class hit me. I was on a scooter. It was in the opposite lane, turning to its left, meaning that it would cross my lane. I had right of way and the light was green. He must have accelerated because one moment he was just waiting there, without his turn signal engaged, and the next I remember thinking “Oh shit” and then I was on my bum.
My scooter hit the right front side of his car. It was pretty brutal, as the police photos showed. The front end of his car was toast, as was the windshield. I was wearing motorcycle gear, which included a full face motorcycle helmet, gloves, and jacket. I must have somersaulted over the car at least once. The next thing I knew, I was being dragged or aided to the side of the road. I was trying to take off my jacket. My shoe was missing. I felt blood trickling down my legs. I saw the driver on his phone. He had also dragged my scooter to the side. Then he moved his car to the side as well. He wasn’t supposed to do this, but there was traffic.
I almost lost consciousness. I felt the grayness enveloping me. Sounds were being obscured, but I didn’t faint. I was just woozy. The ambulance arrived and they took me to the hospital. After checking me out, they took my vitals and started to patch me up. I had a laceration on my right knee that needed three stitches. I doesn’t sound like much, but it was surrounded by abrasions. It was extremely painful when the doc was disinfecting it. After they bandaged me, they took some x-rays. Then, I was taken to the observation room.
I was mostly left to my own devices. I had the presence of mind to check if all of my things were intact, and I started drinking water from my own water bottle, as they hadn’t offered me. I downed at least 1L. The police came to take a statement, but they didn’t speak any English. They took my info and gave me a Breathalyzer test. I don’t drink any alcohol at all and the test showed this.
The doc told me that nothing was broken and that I was free to leave whenever I wanted to. I wanted to stay and sleep, but I had to get home. Spike needed to be fed and walked. I also had a post due. So I picked myself up and got up. I paid the fee and got my meds. In total, it cost me $18 USD and this included the ambulance drive plus three days worth of medications. I hobbled around after I had fed Spike and walked him. I worked a bit, but I don’t think I was very productive. I skyped with the wife.
It was the first time I was in an ambulance, the first time in my adult life that I lost consciousness, the first time in 9 years that I got stitches. It was also my first bicycle accident.
I remember fidgeting with my watch on my bike. That’s the last thing I remember because I must have crashed a few moments later. Thank goodness for helmets. To be honest, I don’t really like wearing helmets and I have at times thought about not wearing one. Thank God that I just wore it, day in and day out, without any complaints.
I woke up in the hospital or the ambulance. I was asking if I was in Taiwan. I couldn’t remember if I was an ESL teacher. At least, I knew my name, but I didn’t know what happened. I have three cuts on the left side of my face with a few stitches, I don’t know how many, and I have abrasions on both arms and knees. Thoughtfully, the paramedics brought my bike with me to the hospital and it was fine.
I recalled my own cell phone number and my home number after I woke up and my wife was on the way. I was discharged as soon as my wife arrived at around 3PM. I had left the house at around 11:30AM. From my guess, I had my accident at about 12:30PM. The exact memories of what happened are a bit foggy, but I guess that I need to buy a bicycle computer. That would have probably avoided the fall. My watch wasn’t fixed on the handlebars, but on my wrist.
It’s the day after and my wife got me a whole bunch of treats yesterday. It felt like Christmas. I told her jokingly that I should get injured more often. Nope, I don’t want to fall down again. Ah well, with my using the bike this much, as much as I used it back when I was 15-17 when I was seriously training, it was bound to happen. New bikes are lighter, stiffer and have new technologies in them that take a while to get used to. I think I was distracted and then fell down. The good news is that I’ll be getting a new helmet this week and that I’m fine. The Scott jersey that I was wearing was a bit torn up on the shoulder, but I can still wear it. Still, I’m totally miffed at having torn that. It was a birthday present from my wife.