The crash.

- When and where ?

October 2023, while going back home after attending a group ride in Paris.

- What?

I got hit by a car. My fault apparently, according to the police who saw some videosurveillance footage (I never saw it).

I was told that I crossed an intersection at full speed, without checking the incoming traffic to my right (which is weird and unusual, riding dangerously was not my style, and especially since it happened at night, I always thought that I preferred riding at night because I could spot cars more easily with their headlights, so it is strange that I didn’t notice this one in time…) But now it’s done, and I can’t do anything about it anyways.

Bad things happen, I guess.

- The Collision:

I lost all memory of this moment, up to a week prior to it.
I can’t remember anything from it, I don’t know if I felt pain or anything at the moment of impact.
All I know is that I got hit at “high velocity”, ejected from the bike, and that I lost consciousness probably immediatly.
The emergency services arrived on location quickly and rescued/saved me.
I had a head trauma, with internal bleeding, a few broken bones, and I was in a coma for approximately 3 weeks.

- The awakening:

I woke up at hospital, I was feeling like I fell asleep 30 seconds ago, but I had been asleep for three weeks.
Some people and friends were around, they explained to me what happened, and why I was there.

I understood the situation, but I had nothing to say about it. I was like “ok, so what do I do now?”.
At first, I couldn't walk at all or even stand up without being helped and held in place by someone.

I was struggling to talk (mainly because I had a tracheotomy to help me breathing), and I could only open my left eye, the other one stayed closed at all times. I could only open it with my hand. I knew that it was still “okay” in terms of vision, because I could still see with it when I held it open.

I was sometimes transported by my friends, in a wheelchair, here and there in the hospital, I then started to walk again while always being held by someone. I also remember falling to the ground a few times in my room… Getting back up was almost impossible.

- The awakening, part II:

When I woke up, I realised that I could have be gone forever if I didn't woke up, and that I wouldn’t even be aware of it…
It seems to be a weird thing to say, but I was just gone during these three weeks, like when we switch off a TV after watching a movie.
It is either ON or OFF, there is no in between… Either dead, or alive. After waking up, I felt like I had been dead for three weeks…

I also realized that if I hadn't woken up, all my pictures would have been gone forever after a while (this website hosting wouldn’t have been renewed, making everything on it disappear). I would have done all this “for nothing”.

I don’t do this with a goal in mind, I just do it because I like taking pictures of nice bikes, but I don’t really like the idea of everything disappearing so easily and so quickly if I would die.

So, I decided to make a book containing almost all my pictures (approximately 1400 pictures).

A book that will stay after my death.

It is not yet finished as I write this (May 2024), but I will add a section about it to this site later, when it's finished.

- Material damage:

As you can see with the following pictures, my bike (the Salsa Warbird visible here before the crash) got destroyed, both wheels got broken too, my glasses and helmet were also destroyed. The two parts of the bike were only held together by the rear brake line…
I didn't even get to keep this bike for more than a year...

The medical staff told me several times that I was lucky to still be alive, which definitely wouldn't have been the case if I wasn't wearing a helmet. Without a helmet, I would be dead.

- Physical damage:

The accident happened almost 8 months ago, as I write these words. Today, I can walk again, almost perfectly, I can still sense some small balance issues, but they are not very annoying. I can even ride bikes again.

As you can see it with these pictures, my right eye now opens (it still feels a bit numb), but it is sideways, and not following the other eye’s movements at all, especially vertically.

It stays almost in the same place at all times, no matter what the other one is doing/looking at.

So, if I don’t place something in front of it to obstruct its view, I will see everything in double, which is quite annoying and disturbing.

I had to place something dark, because since my pupil is also permanently fully dilated, and doesn’t react to light, sunlight hitting this mask on my glasses can be very annoying and blinding…

Actually, the “eye situation” is not as bad and annoying as it seems.

Since my right eye can still see something, and it is slightly oriented to the right, I can still see things between my glasses and my face, meaning that my field of view is almsot complete and almost as good as it was before.
It would be way worse if my eye couldn’t see anything at all.

In the future, it might get slightly fixed with surgery (it might be possible to center it again with, but it will only be an aesthetic fix, I don’t think my eye will ever move correctly again), but for now, I have to adopt the pirate style…

I also have some short term memory/working memory losses.
I sometimes trend to forget what I was about to do, or what I was thinking about 30 seconds ago, or mixing days up.
I may think I did or said something today, but it actually happened two days ago. And vice versa.
But fortunately it seems to only happen with unimportant things.

- Current situation:

May 23 2024.

It took me six months to be able/allowed to get back home. Before that, I was in two different hospitals.
I am currently still going to a rehabilitation hospital three times/week, it has been like this since january, but at least I can get back home when I’m not there. I will keep going there until they think I've regained most of my abilities.

- Insurance :

In France, road traffic accidents involving a motorised land vehicle are governed by the Badinter Law of 5th July 1985.

This law provides a very protective scheme for some categories of victims (like a cyclist hit by a car), granting them compensation almost automatically, in the event of personal injury (if these injuries were not done purposefully).

Therefore, my injuries/disabilities caused by the crash should be entirely covered, samr thing for the broken bike.
The compensation will take my progress/recovery into account, so it will take some time.

I was told that the car’s driver stopped after the collision, he even got placed in custody for some time, until he got “cleared” after the police watched the video surveillance footage.

- Conclusion :

This accident happened 8 months ago as I write these words.

I'm a little disappointed in myself, for being the only one responsible for it, especially since it was so avoidable (if it really happened as I was told).

But as I say since the accident, I am happy that I can still walk, think, talk, and ride a bike.
Even if I have a few problems here and there, everything is alright.

It could be worse.

I only have my track bikes left for now. had to slightly adapt them to my situation, by adding brakes, and switching to a much easier ratio since my body is still very weak. I was used to ride 51x16t, but I now use 44x16t. It somehow feels more difficult to use than the 51x16 I was used to…

When I woke up at the hospital and leaned that I got involved in a serious cycling accident, I initially thought that it happened with my brakeless Cinelli.
I was really surprised to learn that it happened with my only “normal” bike, the only one that had brakes and a freewheel…