In The Shining, there is a backstory of how Jack decided to go sober. While in the car with his friend Al Shockley, both drunk, they hit a bike. But they cannot find the person they hit. Terrified by the incident, Jack realizes he must stop drinking alcohol.

What may be the meaning of this story? I think it was a message for Jack to stop drinking before something bad happens.

But still, I am not sure if I missed something. Was there any biker hit? Was it a ghost bike? Was it just their drunken imagination?

2 Answers 2


They don't know exactly what happened, but it could be something very bad. The person might have got up and cycled off; or might have been killed and their body lost (whether knocked over a bridge or into the woods); or anything in between.

Evidently the event preyed on their minds, and doubtless their imaginations - worrying over what could have happened, as the consequences could have been very severe. But they don't know what actually happened. And he doesn't want to risk something bad happening again, as might have happened that time.

This seems very psychologically plausible, as a near miss often forces someone to change their ways even if it subsequently turns out there was no lasting effect. King as is well known had a long battle with alcoholism, and this may reflect a near-miss he experienced.


The book mentions a bridge stanchion near where the car stopped. I’ve always thought it was possible the collision threw the rider over the side. However, the book also says Jack felt the car’s wheels pass over something AFTER the bike landed behind the car, which suggests the body would have been stationery on the road. So… I still don’t know for sure.

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