Just a Guy on a Bike

I saw a cyclist who was hit by a car, this morning.

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This wasn’t a spandex-clad, helmet-wearing roadie. It wasn’t a too-cool hipster on his fixie. It wasn’t an MTBer, sketching some pavement in-between trails. This was just-a-guy-on-a-bike. No ultralight wheels. No carbon composite frame. No thoughts of functional threshold power or VO2 max. His bike was transportation. He was on the sidewalk, going to work, going to the store, going home…maybe just going for the sake of going.

And he got hit.

Early-morning traffic in this part of Tallahassee is moving pretty fast. People leaving the Chick-fil-a or Dunkin Donuts in this parking lot have to gas it pretty hard to make the gaps in the fast-moving traffic. You pull out, check left for a gap, and GO.

He might have been coming down the sidewalk from the right, and the driver didn’t even look toward him. He might have been coming from the left, and the driver just didn’t see him.

He got hit.

And now, this guy on the big-box store bike is on the pavement as the paramedics slip a back board under him.

None of us “cyclists” may know this guy. He may not show up at group rides, help maintain the local trails, or smugly espouse pro-cycling opinions on the Internet. He just rides a bike. And now, he doesn’t. And will he again? Will he even WALK again?

I have written and rewritten so many diatribes to end this post, and I’ve deleted every one of them. They were too callous, too political, and too cycling-specific. They tried to make points that have been made over and over and over again.

The plain, simple truth of the matter is this poor guy was hurt, maybe badly, maybe very badly. Just another story to add to those of Tom Palermo and others. Just another guy who is someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s father.

Just another guy on a bike.

SOME STATISTICS

  • According to the NHTSA, in 2012, 2.2% of fatal traffic crashes involved bicyclists. That’s 726 deaths, an increase of 6% from 2011.
  • 49,000 cyclists were injured.
  • During the same time period, the total (not just cyclists) number of injuries in “distracted driver” incidents increased 9%, from 387,000 to 421,000.
  • Drivers “visibly manipulating a handheld device” while driving held steady at 1.3%. This number increases to 1.5% on weekends, when more cyclists are on the roads.

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