I finally had an accident. It was inevitable.
I didn't really have an accident, though. I had a perfectly normal commute, zipping along in the carpool lane, and somebody else had an accident in which they changed lanes - very suddenly, with no notice, no blinker, and certainly no checking for other vehicles - and hit my bike. My bike (with me now hanging on for dear life and cursing like a sailor inside my helmet) was slammed into the center divider and then a long slide, right side down, for a decent distance down the 60 freeway.
I remember the crunch when the car hit me, and the sickening feeling when I knew the bike was going down. I remember looking up as I was sliding along the ground and seeing both occupants of the car that hit me looking back, mouths agape and eyes wide open. I shook my fist in the air, no joke. I remember looking back to see if there were any cars that would squish me as I came to a stop. One tailgater could have changed this story drastically, but I got lucky, I had some room around me. Some one stopped behind me and traffic went around.
A nice man - whom I need to call and thank profusely - stopped and helped lift the bike off of my leg. How grateful am I that the witness who stopped was wearing a "Harley-Davidson" hat? So thankful. He had seen the whole thing, and once the CHP arrived told them how it happened - and whose fault the whole thing was (i.e., not mine).
I had the feeling the guy had no insurance when he started asking me "so how are we going to handle this?" repeatedly just a few moments after the wreck. "We are going to wait here for the cops." When he hit me, his tire blew out, so he wasn't going anywhere fast.
No license, no insurance, no verifiable ID, and the cops let him drive off after they took the report! Unfuckingbelievable. But I've got good coverage, and maybe something will come through from him.
The damage: The bike will be ok. Cosmetic damage to the right side, mangled right footpeg, damaged brake line, gash in the pipes. Charles and I could probably patch it up for a few hundred, but between HD and the insurance company they've come up with an estimate of $3200 and are replacing quite a bit on the bike. New tires, new grips, new pegs all the way around, new front axle, new mirrors, new handlebars, new levers and pedals. Also, all the (moderately scuffed, imho) gear i was wearing will be replaced.
I am only really moderately scuffed as well. I was wearing about as much gear as I would ever wear and was a little extra padded for cold as well. Boots, dickies jacket and a sweater under my armored riding jacket and of course my full face helmet. I'm always an advocate for the full helmet, more so lately. I wasn't wearing riding pants, just my regular work pants, and my right leg took the brunt of the damage. Pants were shredded and my knee is bruised, abraded, and swollen. My foot and elbow are bruised as well, my whole right side is sore. All in all, quite minor compared to how bad it could have been.
Bike will be back soon, and I will be back on it.