see the carnage!
Click on the accident scene to see the rest of the pictures. I was really very loopy there in the ER. Hrm.

back | next
back to archives |
email me


June 22, 2002

So, Peter's never going to believe me on this, but I'm actually sick of talking about the accident already. ;) But I owe it to you, dear readers -- especially those not cool enough to be on the mailing list -- to go into a wee bit of detail.

I had just left work, and was heading to my apartment to meet Diana. I exited the street I was on (south Alma, for those in the know) and was on the little ramp to get onto Page Mill Road. The ramp slopes downhill, and at the bottom of the hill is a stop sign. Traffic on Page Mill doesn't stop, and so when you're at the stop sign, you have to sort of look behind you and uphill a little, since Page Mill intersects the weird on/off ramp at an angle. I made a little diagram, which is guaranteed to be of no use at all. The arrows indicate traffic direction.

Anyway, I was the second vehicle in a line of maybe seven or eight cars stopped at the stop sign. The first car took maybe a minute or two before she had an opening to merge onto Page Mill -- in other words, we were stopped there for a little while. When she pulled onto Page Mill, I moved up and stopped at the stop sign...and the car behind me just kept right on going.

The right side of his car hit the left side of my bike, knocking the bike over onto its (and my) right hand side. We slid for about 10 feet, and that was that. The bike had landed on my right foot, so I was sort of limping around while the guy who hit me got out of his car and headed over. I took some pictures and then he moved his car out of the way of traffic, onto the narrow shoulder on Page Mill. He felt that his car was in danger of being hit (I didn't really think it was, but, whatever), so he actually left to move his car. I was unclear at the time as to what was going on -- obviously, since I let him leave -- though I did get his license plate number first, just in case. In hindsight, I think he moved his car to park on a side street at the next exit, and then walked from there back to the scene.

While he was doing that, two police cars came down the ramp. I assume they'd been on Alma, and, seeing the backup on the ramp, decided to come check it out. We did the usual exchange of information, and they radioed for a medic and a bike cop that was in the area. I'm still not sure why they radioed in for the bike cop, since there were already two cop cars there, and it was obvious the accident wasn't severe, but maybe they just wanted him there since it was a bike accident. Who knows.

At any rate, the driver reappeared, and the car cops went over to deal with him while the bike cop chatted me up. The medics arrived, and it was obvious by their demeanor that the cops had just radioed in a "motorcycle accident" -- they looked as though they were ready with the shovels and body bags. When they saw me and I said that my foot hurt but I was otherwise OK, they were a little like, "uh, ok, bye then" and they left in a pretty big hurry. *shrug*

At some point during all of this, one of the car cops came over to talk to the bike cop. They told me that the driver hadn't had a valid license in five years, his registration was expired, and although he gave them insurance info, they weren't convinced that it was valid either. Lovely.

One of the car cops eventually left to take the driver back to his car, free limousine service courtesy of the Palo Alto Police Department. I have no idea what they did with him after that. I suppose it'll be in the police report.

After determining that I was OK and that the bike was rideable, the cops said I was free to go. The bike cop gave me a card with his name, number, and my case number on it, saying that the police report will be available on Monday morning. They blocked off traffic for me, and I geared up, got on the bike, and rode -- slowly -- home.

ER tourists.
I had called Diana on her cell phone to let her know that I had been hit, but was OK, so when I got home, she was waiting for me with my neighbor, Rob. We chatted for a few minutes, and Diana and I went upstairs to my apartment to ice my foot. We decided to head over to the Urgent Care at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, just in case ("I read on the internet where this guy was in a motorcycle accident, and everyone thought he was OK, and then he stood up and JUST DIED RIGHT THERE!").

The ER at PAMF was an experience. I highly recommend it for all of your pre-9pm urgent care needs. We were in and out of there within an hour. I was on a massive adrenaline rush, so Diana and I terrorized the ER while waiting for the doctor to come in and look at me. We dug through the drawers, peeked in the biohazard containers (they were alarmingly full), played with the weights/chinese finger torture thingies that they assumedly use to realign your dislocated fingers, etc. The doctor finally came in before we had a chance to play with the cast saw. She poked and prodded and sent me down to the X-ray room, where we got to play ER tourist some more. The X-ray guy was very nice about us taking pictures.

Long story short, my foot (and everything else) is sore, but otherwise OK. Nothing broken, just bruised. She listened to my lungs when I mentioned my asthma, looked in my ears/eyes/throat, etc., and pronounced me A-OK.

I was half-expecting to hear some sort of "you get what you deserve" attitude from someone in the ER, since I've heard horror stories from other motorcyclists, but everyone was very sympathetic. The X-ray guy told us about another woman he'd X-rayed whose bike had fallen on her (it's an epidemic!) and the ER doctor seemed impressed that Diana and I were motorcyclists. All in all, a pleasant urgent care experience.

so, now what?
I did some poking around on the Information Superhighway tonight, and it seems like all of the damage to the bike is under $500. I'm debating getting my insurance involved, since I really can't afford a rate increase. I guess I'll see what the police report says on Monday.

My current enthusiasm is hoping that I end up in the police blotter of the Palo Alto Daily News or the Palo Alto Weekly. We've got a bit of a police blotter thing at work, and I'm morbidly hoping to become a collector's item. So, if any of you are in Palo Alto, check the PADN on Monday (I already checked today's; it's not in yet) and the PAW on Wednesday. I'll be the motorcycle accident on Page Mill and South Alma. ;)

My foot is already doing a million times better. I couldn't put any weight on it last night (which resulted in the entertaining scenario of Peter carrying me from room to room of his house), but today I can walk fairly normally. It's worst when I have to put shoes on (I've got an Ace bandage on, and it makes my foot rather thick), so I've been going around barefoot most of the evening, and it's doing fine. Peter kept me pumped full of Ibuprofen all day, but I really think that I should be almost back to normal even by Monday. Hopefully. Other than that, there's really nothing wrong with me.

The bike's got a broken rear brake pedal, front brake lever, chain guard, and a scratched-up fairing. It's not really all that bad, but I'm going to try to get it all replaced. I'm not riding it now, since my foot is too sore to hold all the weight of me plus the bike, and with no rear brake, I don't want to take any chances at all. Hopefully I'll get to the shop and get a new brake pedal early next week. By then my foot should be well enough to ride with, too.

So far, all systems are still "go" for my ride down to Southern California next weekend. I'll obviously be playing it by ear, but if I get the brake pedal and my foot keeps improving like it has today, I don't see any reason not to go. Unless my boss still hasn't signed that vacation form by then......