Sunday, June 28, 2015

Op Ed

A Safer Ride

Sometimes doing everything right isn't enough

Staff/Voice file photo


Voice file photo.


ast week, while most traffic was making the morning commute westward, I was lucky enough to be going in the opposite direction for the highway.


Thankful to get away from the turbulent pace of producing news for a few days. I just had one light to go to make my break.


Then, a man on a bicycle approaches the light at the intersection ahead. I can see he's a "real" rider and not a hoodie on a BMX kid's bicycle buzzing the intersection. He's wearing a helmet too.


At this point, the cyclist is doing everything right; he's keeping up with traffic, commits to the lane for the left turn, signals his intent with his arm outstretched. I let him go.


He doesn't want to get in the way of traffic, so he gives the bike an extra kick or two and leans into the corner. He almost makes it, but, his kickstand catches the pavement. The bike hops, he lurches forward and his feet left the pedals. Once you're are off the pedals, you lose control of the bike and usually by that time it's already too late to avoid a crash.


He went straight over the bars and slammed his face harder than I've seen anyone do before, including myself. He sat there stunned. His glasses were smashed to pieces and he was bleeding from a few places on his face.


I immediately took control of the intersection with my car and ensured he wasn't going to get hit again. Any cyclist whose ever been hit by a car, is more worried about being hit again by another one.


I jumped out and ran over to him.


"Oh my good God, are you okay?" I asked crouching down beside the clean cut man in his sixties.


"I think so he," he muttered.


"Oh good God," I said again. "You're bleeding on your chin, and the side. Here, can you stand? Lets get you to the curb."


I got him over to the grass where he sat down. I picked up his car key fob and handed it to him.


"My glasses," he said pointing at the road.


I grabbed a gouged and unusable lens. He tried to smile when I gave it to him.


"Oh, you poor guy. Do you want an ambulance? Because I think you've had a concussion."


He hesitated. "Ah, no I think I'll be okay."


Traffic waited patiently for us. I had to go, but hated leaving the man like that.


All I could think of was 'the poor guy.' Once I left, I was so stunned by the incident that I even missed my turn.


The only reason the accident happened was because of the kickstand. They're handy, but they're still not designed to fold up out of harm's way into the bike frame, so they're dangerous and can cause more harm than good.


Take it from the injured cyclist, and from someone who rode for many years around BC and Alberta, it's best to remove them.



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