Saturday, 28 August 2010

What is it with dogs and bikes? - Update

Back in March I wrote a post which asked the question "What is it with dogs and bikes?". You can read it by clicking here. I finished the post by asking for any good bike v dog stories. I got no replies at the time but no matter because now I can add one of my own. Although sitting here right now I'm not sure that good is the right word.

Yesterday morning I went for a spin with my mate, Stephen. We did about 100km around the Garristown/Naul area in lovely, autumn sunshine. We were in no rush and even had time for a most welcome coffee at the Seamus Ennis café in Naul village.

After riding in as far as the North Circular Road with Stephen, I headed home along the coast at Clontarf. I rode the bike lane to Dollymount and then switched to the road for the short stretch by St Anne's Park, where there's no bike lane. This bit is dead flat, dead straight and about a mile from home so I was moving at a handy pace (for me) of about 18-20 mph.

Next thing I knew I was airborne. As is the way with these things I can piece together some of the scene in hindsight. I can remember a car horn blowing, a dog yelping and looking down at a golden coloured Labrador wrapped around my front wheel.

Then I felt the pain of a very hard landing on the concrete road. My left hip felt like it had exploded. I was also slightly aware that my helmet didn't feel right either but don't remember feeling my head hit the road. As there had been no warning it took a little time for me to realise what had happened. But the pain in my hip left me in little doubt. I'd run straight into the dog, who had run from the park on my left and simply dashed across the road. He ended up getting a major blow to the midriff and I found myself somersaulting my handlebars.

As the initial impact pain subsided I became aware of voices asking if I was alright. A Range Rover had stopped on the opposite side of the road and I saw a woman from it move my bike off the road, A man in a reflective vest was standing over me but I don't know what he was saying. Another man, with a small backpack, was asking me if I could get up.

His words reminded me that I was lying in the road but when I tried to move it was obvious my left hip area was bad. I couldn't raise my left leg at all. The man must have realised that too and I heard him tell someone else to call an ambulance. He very kindly put his backpack under my head and I settled down to wait. As I was so close to home I asked the man to call my wife so she could get down to me, collect my bike and find out what hospital I was heading for.

It was only at this point that I took off my helmet only to discover that the back section of it had been shorn off completely. Like I said, I don't remember hitting my head but the state of the helmet said it all!

To cut a long story short, there followed a very uncomfortable journey on a spinal board and neck-brace to hospital, some painful rolling onto a trolley to have my back and neck checked followed by x-rays and other exams. The outcome was a diagnosis of a fractured pelvis and up to six weeks on crutches and painkillers.

The worst part is I was going really well on the bike and looking forward to enjoying some more end of summer spins!

So what lessons should be learned from this:

1) the park bye-laws state that "Dogs are allowed off lead up to 11.00am each day & for the last hour before official Park Closing Time. At all other times, dogs must be kept on a leash." That needs to be enforced.
2) helmets have a purpose,
3) there are still people about who will step up to help when needed
4) ambulance men need to be trained how to open cycling shoes when the wearer is totally unable to move and help

Finally, on the off chance they might read this, I would like to thank all of those who came to my aid, especially my wife, kids and in-laws, Dublin Fire Brigade, the doc and nurses in Beaumont Hospital, the various drivers who stopped and, especially, the man with the backpack who took control of the situation and made sure I was comfortable, and safe, while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.


  1. Jez, nasty dude, sorry to hear that. But thankfully you're alright, and the pelvis will mend. Could have been a different story if you weren't wearing a helmet!