Today is the last day for the Goethals Bridge which connects New York to New Jersey. The bridge, erected 89 years ago, is being torn down. Starting tomorrow, traffic will flow over a new bridge built next to the old one. The new crossing is the first bridge built in New York since 1931.
This development has personal significance to me. Fifteen years ago I almost died on the Goethals Bridge -- and I'm not exaggerating. Hit by a car while riding my motorcycle, I was thrown off my bike and ended up on the cold roadway with four broken ribs and a collapsed lung. As I lay on my back, I tried to breathe. I couldn't. I simply could not breathe. That condition seemed to last forever and I became increasingly alarmed at the fact that if I did not start breathing, it was going to be lights out. My mind focused with the intensity that comes when you face death up close.
Part of the reason I was in this accident was the bridge's poor design. It has two lanes each way with no shoulder. Traffic in the right lane is cramped by a waist-high concrete railing that offers no space for lateral movement.
I was riding home in the left lane after spending Thanksgiving in New Jersey. A young man in the right lane was speeding and suddenly realized his car was going going to rear-end and crash into the vehicle in front of him. Unable to veer right onto a shoulder, he veered left without looking. And I happened to be in that space on my motorcycle.
I spent a week in a Staten Island hospital and a month recovering at home. Fortunately I'm fully healed with no lingering physical effects.
I often think about what would have happened had I been unable to start breathing during my unplanned visit to the bridge's pavement. Instead of telling you this story, I would have been buried and quietly forgotten. Fifteen years ago blogs didn't exist and most of you who've met me here would not have ever known about me.
I'm happy to report that the new bridge has 12-foot shoulders, giving poor drivers a place to go when speeding and panicking.
This definitely has significance for you for sure. I knew you had that accident but I didn't know the details. I'm so thankful you came through it ok and that you're here to share your stories with us. And that you're my friend. <3ReplyDelete
Thanks, Beth. I'm glad we're friends, too.Delete
How scary! After having such a severe accident I'm impressed it didn't turn you off of motorcycle riding for life.ReplyDelete
It does to some people but it's effect on me was to inspire me to enjoy life -- and nothing gives me more pleasure than riding.Delete
The Goethals is an interesting bridge that carries lots of traffic on and off Staten Island. I look forward to the new span since the old one was way too narrow.ReplyDelete
Broken ribs hurt. Happened to me twice. I broke one rib the first time. Could not breathe for weeks. The second time I fell from a tree onto a branch I cut. Broke 5 ribs that time. It is distressing not being able to get air into your lungs. Painful and distressing.
I have had some corsets over tightened. It also impacts breathing but somehow I thought this was fun and well worth doing. Go figure.
I know -- I have a corset, too. It's different when you're not afraid of dying!Delete
Wow, that must have been scary. Thanks for sharing your story.ReplyDelete
It's interesting to look at those life-changing/affirming events and think of "what might have been" - I nearly died in Hawaii when I was 8 years old (undertow sucked me out), and I often think of all the things that would have been different. It's one of those "It's a Wonderful Life" things that can really make you appreciate what you have. I am so glad you lived, Ally! You're inspiring and lovely and wonderful, and my life is richer with you in it. :)ReplyDelete
They are replacing one of our bridges here - I will miss the old one, with many memories from my childhood. Glad your new bridge will be much safer!
Same here, Sheila. You add such joy to my life.Delete
Incredible. We try to preserve architecture but in some cases it's just not safe enough for that. If I were king, I'd name the new bridge after you.ReplyDelete
I nominate you for King!Delete
Omg I had no idea that happened to you!! Thank goodness you are okay, my friend... that's a scary experience to live through, especially to experience that on a bridge. While on your motorcycle.ReplyDelete
I'm interested to see the new bridge--they've been meaning to go this for the tappan zee--a crossing very close to my parents home.
Xoxo and hope you had a great weekend!!
What a horrible near death experience Ally, thankfully up until today I have not had anything like that happen to me.ReplyDelete
I am happy you made it, not only because you have accomplished so much but because you have taught me to much-
The appreciation is mutual, my dear friend!Delete
WOW, that is some story I am so glad you survived but I am sure it was not an easy recovery. And although historical I am glad they are putting in a new bridge. Yes you never know when your time is up. I am sure you heard about the police officer who was caught in a car and dragged for blocks, he lives across the street from me. He was very badly injured he will survive but has a VERY long road a head of him.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you made it through, and more glad that future motorists have enough room to panic. ;)ReplyDelete
I am glad that you made it through that scary accident and that it didn't put you off motorcycles! You are an awesome human being and I am so happy to call you "friend"!ReplyDelete
My hunny has had a few incidents in his bike life and also loves riding so much that it is part of the joys of riding.