My biking "war injury"...That was in late 1996. The blue Specialized was freshly bought and Dad consented lending it to me for a quick ride around to try the beast. I picked the banks of the Canal du Midi, the usual ride. As I came back, the weather turned rainy, the bike went all dirty with mud, me as well.
As I was heading back home, I had to cross the city center of my little home town Agen. That was late afternoon in dusk. I passed the train station and arrived at the big central place locally known as "Place du Pin". A file of cars waited at the red light, but I was getting cold so I didn't bother waiting and overtook them on the right side near the walkside.
But suddenly, something hit my so quickly that I didn't realize immediately what was going on. I was lying on the walkside in front of the last car, with a sharp pain in my shoulder.
An old woman was starring at me horrified eyes: "oh my god ! oh my god !". Then I understood. She step out in the very moment I passed, and the sharp corner of the door stabbed me exactly at the moment I passed it. I stood up, twisted back the handlebar in a correct position, and sat again. That's going to be OK, I said, but please next time watch out !
"I... I... buying bread..." she added, then stopped... "but... but... dear young gentleman, it looks like you're bleeding a lot ! you may be injured !". I looked at my tshirt. Indeed yes, red color was slowly replacing the brown dirt of the mud. I noticed the corner of the door also had a slight red stain, and in the same time, my left shoulder started to feel tickly and I realized I could not move it as easy as I thought. I wondered how I had managed to lift the bike and twist the handlebar few seconds ago.
Let's call a doctor ! Let's call a rescue ! Let's... let's... let's go to the pharmacy overthere, shouted both women, the passenger and the driver of the same age, totally in panic. I couldn't convince them the pharmacy wasn't the right place, and as expected a young clean polite cashier, looking similarly terrified by my sight, recommended to take me as quick as possible to the emergency unit of the city's hospital.
Then I thought it was high time to take the lead and I told them I wouldn't bother anymore, it was all my fault, and I called my father in the phone box. He was there a minute later and apologized once more to the old women for the disturbance and loss of time.
Ten minutes later (which I spent in the car hearing him shouting "how the hell did you..."), we arrived at the hospital, and lost with all corridors, we ended at some reception where the girl told us with a sort of bureaucratic authority to wait in the queue, which we did under the amazed eyes of all other people queuing. I looked again at myself. Yes, I was scary a lot indeed. The white Tshirt was now all red, the rest was wet and mud. I almost looked like a car had passed over me ! "you may take my place", said generously the man ahead of us, visibly not so ill, and the few next ones offered so. At this moment, some old doctor passed into the corridor, and shouted : "why is this bleeding young man waiting in the queue ?!!! call the emergency, bloody hell !!!". The young girl at the desk went suddenly pale, and few seconds later I was lying on a bed with wheels and transported into a chirurgy unit. Dad was following aside.
An old experienced doctor, visibly not disturbed at all, said "not as bad as it looks like. Only a deep cut, but deep enough to require a good repair, the muscle was partly sectioned. I'll anesthetize you on that corner of your body so you won't feel anything".
"Wow, that's dirty in here", he nodded, later as my shoulder was feeling absent. "we need some additional workout to make the repair succeed. Wanna know how deep it was ?", he asked with a slight sadic smile. Then he put his fifth finger (in a glove) into it, like measuring the oil level of a motor. Red was as high as his first phalanx. Terrified, I looked at my dad, who looked at me with a big smile. Few cuts of scalpel later, he sewed the skin with some plastic wire, and I had the arm into a bandage with a scarf to hold my forearm. "Should be OK in couple of months, then get back here or anywhere else to get the wire removed". "But don't do sport immediately after".
That was indeed the time when I was rowing. My season was wrecked. I got the bandage removed fairly quick, and I could move my arm freely quite soon, which helped me a lot for handwritting, as I was in the middle of my studies at the university. But a significant difference muscular mass was visible on my left shoulder, and when I contracted it, there was like a hole in it visible under the skin.
A year after, the difference finally vanished and I could row again. Nowadays, the scar and the little hollow in that place of my shoulder are still visible... This is my biking "war injury" :)
The place of the accident is now painted in green with a cycle track on the Google map picture below, under the blue sign (I am amazed how hypocritical it is to have painted a so-called cycling lane in such narrow place...). Since then, each time I arrive at the red light, I do have a genuine fear that someone would pop from the right door, and I systematically check in each car each right passenger ! Thanks to that I avoided many times similar accidents, mostly while commuting in Wroclaw.
Morality: commuters, watch out for right passengers planning to buy bread at the red light !