I stood up on the road. This came with a sense of astonishment. All my limbs were still working. Next priority was looking behind me to see if any cars were coming up behind me. And then I saw my crashed bicycle. It was a long way back. Past the car that caused my crash.
A bit earlier
I’d got the chance to leave work in my golden hour. Just after the school rush and before the build up of after-work traffic. The weather was clear and pleasant. Traffic was light. It was good to be commuting home on the bike.
There’s a roundabout by the Stadium on Oteha Valley Road. My approach was at 36kph . Slowing to check the roundabout for cars (Yes! It was empty), I began my circuit. I kept an eye on the road entering the roundabout just ahead. Two vehicles on that road, slowing down. I’m now traveling at 23kph.
Then the blue hatchback speeds up. The driver didn’t look properly, and assuming the roundabout was empty, was going to speed through it. We are going to collide.
MoT report (2017) on fatal and serious accidents with cyclists report that in 59% of the cases, the motorist did not see the cyclist. 
At this stage I brake hard and turn away from the car’s direction. The bike stopped, but I didn’t. I still had a forward momentum of roughly 23 kph and had lost all control of the bicycle.
The same MoT report notes one of the factors that contributes to cycle accidents is the bicycle’s inherent instability.
I vaulted over the handlebars. This sounds more elegant than it really was. I was coming off the bicycle at an angle and the road was rushing up to me. I had to straighten up as I flew though the air. My hands made first- glancing- contact with the road, but this barely slowed the rest of my body. I was moving too fast and too forward. The next instant decision was to do a forward roll on the road.
A common cyclist injury is broken collar bones where they try to break their fall by bracing their hands on the road. The shock of the impact travels up the arms, which have thicker bones and supported by muscle, to the weakest point. That’s the clavicle or collar bone, which snap .
The roll slowed my momentum down by transferring a lot of my kinetic energy to the road. This was done by hitting the road with the back of my helmet and back on the roll. Fortunately I was using a small hydration pack as a cycling pack. Its contents provided enough padding to make the road surface bearable. My momentum is down to 14 kph.
Later I discover a crack in the EPS liner of the helmet at the inside edge of the collision point. The helmet did its job but the deformation wave from the impact point still had enough force to split the inside.
I need one more forward tumble or roll before I can stop. It’s what takes me such a distance from my bike. I don’t recommend the experience. Rolling over a road surface, even with some protection, is a painful experience.
At this stage I’d done nearly everything right. I’d avoided getting hit by a car. I hadn’t broken my collar bones because of the decision to roll on the road. I kept my balance. I hadn’t broken any legs. Sure, bits are hurting but that’s not as bad as I feared. I’m so astonished I’m alive and can walk, I don’t even feel like berating the driver.
Then I did everything wrong. The blow to the back of my head had left me a bit dazed and in shock. The motorist was very contrite. All I could think of saying was something cliched about watching for bikes. What I didn’t do is get the car’s licence plate number. Or the driver’s phone number, which he didn’t offer either. Doug, who was alongside the motorist at the time of the accident (and corroborated my observation of the events), didn’t get the registration either.
I biked some of the way home. I just wanted to get home. But the crash had also done the bike in. So I had to walk the last part of the way carrying the wrecked bike.
I thought I’d survived remarkably unscathed. But the next day symptoms of a concussion were showing. That led to a stay at the Emergency Department of the Hospital. Apparently hitting your head on the road with enough force to split the EPS liner, has enough force left over to bang your brain around a bit.
Somehow, the accident statistics for cyclists no longer seem like abstract numbers, and much more personal.
Cycling on the Shore
Auckland has a fragmentary cycle system. Some of it is excellent, but for many roads its nearly non-existent or poorly connected. One such road is Oteha Valley. The almost daily commute is punctuated frequently by near-misses at the roundabouts that run along its length. I rarely see other cyclists using it during my commutes.
Oteha Valley Road is the main arterial road connecting the East Coast Bays to the Albany Basin. The Bays have a population roughly equal to Rotorua. The road connects to the Northern Motorway, to the Albany Bus Station, to malls, to schools and workplaces, to the QBE Stadium and Albany pools, and to Massey University. It gets used a lot. It also does not cater well to cyclists. There’s a couple of fragmentary cycle lanes but nothing running down its length. Last year the death of a cyclist and a pedestrian on the road motivated a petition to improve it. It hasn’t changed for cyclists. The road is designed to put cyclists at risk.
Until we get improvements in cycle safety on our roads, it will remain a challenge meeting the various policy goals set on congestion and vehicle emissions. The exhortation to motorists to watch out for bikes, just isn’t an effective policy measure.
 My Garmin sportswatch was keeping a record of my speed at each stage. The speeds in this post were retrieved from my Garmin account after the accident.
 Ministry of Tranpsort (2017) Cycle Crash Facts
 Global Cycle Network Top 1o Most Common Cyclist Injuries YouTube