My gosh, people.
How many of us have been in a car accident, fender-bender, scrape, or whatever? Lots of us.
Now, let's add to the mix, that the vehicle you are colliding with, bending with, scraping, or whatever..., is a human? On a bike or simply a pedestrian, on the road?
Here in Kansas, in a university town (OK! I will say it: Manhattan, K-State!), 4 cyclists have been hit by cars in the past 7 days. Pretty bad statistics. And a runner , a "pedestrian" in Oklahoma, was also hit by an automibile driver this weekend. What the heck, people?!
Cyclist Accident #1 of the week was an experienced cyclist, the 2006 Collegiate Criterium National Champion, Mark Smelser, of K-State. He was doing everything right. The SUV who pulled out in front of him, though, was in grave error. The SUV pulled out to make a left-hand turn, failing to yield, and Mark hit this vehicle smack-dab. That was 5 days ago, and Mark had surgery this morning for his fractured elbow.
Accident #2, I do not know the circumstances of. I have heard that this cyclist is a commuter student to K-State, and was hit by a car. Again, I do not know the circumstances.
Accident #3 & #4 occurred on Saturday during the "Pancake Ride", a favorite of Manhattan cyclists. The ride commences in Manhattan, KS, to Wamgo, where the pelaton stops for breakfast. From there, they continue back to Manhattan on another road, "Military Road." This is where the 2 cyclists were hit from behind, by an elderly gentleman who did not see them on the road - at 50 mph.
Here is one cyclist's take on his experience: (thank God he lived to tell the tale, and lives to take care of his wife and toddlers.)
"... The story....Mark was on the white line and I was next to him (riding normal, tight) just west of St. George on Military Trail road. We were talking about oatmeal or Tom Boonan, or something, when all of a sudden.....Massive acceleration. No warning, no sound at all (no screeching tires). A giant "What the F@#$ " was coming out of my mouth. We both suddenly saw the sky as we hood surfed, trying to figure out what was going on. Then the shit storm began, as we rode the hood at about 50 mph for about 1.5-2 seconds, finally being launched to fend for ourselves on the pavement. I immediately went into save my skin mode as I tried to do the tuck and roll,and roll and rotate, and roll. I am much better at this move when 1.on dirt and 2. can see it coming. I did unfortunately do one break-dance hip slide rotation on the left with an elbow slide for style points as I was trying to not loose too much skin. So my left elbow and hip are in bad shape road rash wise. Mark's hands got it pretty good. So we both have some really good road rash. But no other injurys that we know of. Other than I also somehow lost a tooth and chipped another in the process. I have a nice red neck smile (pics to follow on facebook). I will likely need a root canal and some sort of replacement. Not too happy about that..."
And now, there's MORE! I emailed one of my brothers about this week's goings-on. He is an avid cyclist. Runner. Hiker. All-around good guy. And he is not 20+-something: he does not take chances.
He replied, upon my query about his weekend's triathlon: how did he do? He came in first in his age division. Yippee! But...wait...He, TOO! was hit by a car, as he was running his race!! He, and the car, came to an intersection. The car turned on its left-turn indicator, and the police officer who was manning that intersection for the triathlon waved the automobile on. Just as my brother came into the intersection. The automobile turned RIGHT, INSTEAD OF LEFT, and it collided with my brother.
Here is his take on the experience:
"... The car signaled left, the policeman waved him on, and the car turned right, in front of me. I whammed into it pretty hard and then took off in the wrong direction. I think I impressed the policeman and the two race workers..."
OK, these quotes from these athletes sound pretty funny, but I know that each one of these guys are thanking God this weekend that they did not suffer irreparable injuries.
Some people may mumble and grumble that roads should be for car/vehicles only: not cyclists, not runners, nothing but 4-wheeled vehicles.
Yes, we should become more vigilant for these cyclists and runners. Yes, we should join them - if not in body, then in spirit! We should still rally and cheer them on!
My gosh, people: Yield to Life