Two years ago…

A lone bicyclist made his way on a wide and leisurely country road on a beautiful September day.  He had no idea that, in a millisecond of time, his life would forever change.

Coming up behind him, a vehicle side-swiped him; the cyclist was violently hurled into the air, one foot still in a pedal strap on his bicycle.  Medical, law enforcement and other local personnel responded to the accident scene where all were witness to the severe head damage along with other major bodily injuries suffered by the bicyclist.  From that point, the critically injured man was medevaced to a major hospital for emergency treatment. 

In this community, just about every element of local news makes all the newspapers or other media outlets, but not this time.  Those close to the situation questioned why there were no other news releases about this incident, especially since there is an ongoing debate over “Shared Roadways” here in New York.  Any time there is a vehicle/bicyclist encounter, it’s on the front page of every news publication.   Only one small, subscription-only newspaper, the type usually found in supermarkets, carried the story.   A brief synopsis of the sole article about the accident shared the details, stating that the bicyclist veered to the left as the offending vehicle was passing.  The closing sentence of the article read “Police issued no summonses”.  Names of the two parties involved were not stated nor was any mention made concerning any type of vehicle operator testing done at the scene.

Most cyclists stay to the side of roads whenever possible, except when avoiding debris which may be in their path.  New York is one of 9 states that have a “general law” that provides that motorists must pass bicyclists at a safe distance and speed.  The general speed limit on the road where this accident took place is 50 m.p.h., except on certain winding turns where it is lower.  As on many roads, motorists usually push the limits and in a worst case scenario, if a vehicle is being operated by someone who is “distracted” …on a cell phone, driving aggressively, speeding excessively or…driving under some degree of “impairment”…disaster follows. In any vehicle vs. bicyclist situation, it’s more than obvious just who will bear the brunt of a collision.  The magnitude of pain and suffering goes far beyond this individual who was so viciously struck down and who will never again be the same.  What follows can be an incomprehensible aftermath, as in this case.  A family’s financial and emotional resources have been exhausted for necessary care and therapy and they are left to wonder why there is not more pro-activeness in keeping questionable, even dangerous, motorists from injuring or killing an innocent person.

All of the facts may never be known.  Questions will remain unanswered and the threat of another family being impacted by the careless, even willful, actions of someone who should not be allowed to drive… can happen any time.  Today, I received an email from the wife of the injured man and the words from one paragraph must be shared…

“It’s been 2 years since our lives were shattered on that fateful day. We are still struggling to find the pieces and trying to put them back together, knowing too well that full recovery is a myth and stability elusive at best. We are weary, but we cannot give up. We will soldier on, striving for the best we can achieve. We had hoped to defy the odds, but continually modify our goals as reality dictates. The first year we were fighting for our lives. The second year we were working hard on recovery. Still fighting, but realizing our goals were no longer achievable. We continually readjust as the realization of his capability overtakes us and we mourn our losses. This coming year we will continue our fight, but will look to put some of the joy back in our lives.”


workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Workshop…What were you blogging about last year at this time? How have things changed? 

Last year, at this time, I started writing this post but set it aside. The family in this story are people I’m proud to know as friends and, like so many others in their huge circle, I admit to feeling helpless in not offering more than the usual thoughts and prayers. For two years, I’ve been an outsider to the death of someone’s dreams, of growing older together and enjoying a lifestyle both worked so very hard to achieve.  I’ve also been witness to an incredible love story which deals with every special moment, however small, that these two people are blessed with.

With regard to bicyclists, I am very outspoken, mainly where there are individuals who cycle recklessly on many roads and almost look to incite negative encounters with motorists.  Here in New York, “Shared Roadways” should mean some type of cooperation between cars and bikes but unfortunately, too many cyclists fail to observe the traffic and other vehicular rules which apply under this “shared” banner.  In no way does this give any motorist the right to threaten a cyclist or drive in any manner which would cause them harm or injury. 

As I wrote, no one will ever know the complete facts in this situation.  Except for one…and he’s still out there on the roads. 

He needs to read this.