Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Watching her crash...

Five minutes after I put up the Stuff Breaks post on my blog, I got on my bike and headed south on the Cherry Creek bike path. I rode past the country club and turned south along University, ready to ride under the street in a specially constructed, curving pedestrian/bicycle underpass.

I appreciate that the underpass is there, because crossing University Boulevard is sketch indeed. But I don't like the underpass; In its new, redesigned, supposedly safer form, it's nearly as scary as crossing University on the surface, playing dodge-'em with the mall-bound cars.

I followed a man and woman on racing style bikes as we approached the underpass. From a few bike lengths behind, I watched them disappear onto the ramp down to the curve. As I started down the ramp, I watched her bike go out from under her.

He was off his bike and kneeling next to her as she lay there on her back making hurt noises. She was holding her head; she'd evidently hit it on the pavement pretty hard. I raised my arm to stop bicycle traffic behind us, and groped around for my phone. Another guy on a bike appeared and was already dialing.

The husband cradled his wife's head in his hands. Riders approached from both directions and had to be slowed. I tried to help. While I did, I looked around to see if she'd broken her helmet. I realized that neither she nor her husband had been wearing helmets.

I left there after a few minutes, realizing that I was of no use on the scene. I was de-tuned, as motorcycle riders say, meaning dispirited and suffering a loss of enthusiasm. I did my ride anyway. As I approached the underpass on my way back, I saw a workman I'd talked to earlier.

He told me the woman had gone away in an ambulance. He also said that her tire had been flat. Whatever the cause of the crash might have been, I thought, had she been wearing a helmet she'd have been back on her bike in moments, or maybe walking around trying to clear her head.

Not riding away in an ambulance.

No telling what damage she did to the back of her head from that little crash. Probably, if we pay attention, there are lessons to be learned from her misfortune. Right? Anyone have an idea what we could learn? Can I see a show of hands?

3 comments:

Chris said...

Oooh, oooh! I know I know :) As a teacher I find I sometimes do the same thing as you, Maynard - ask the question when you know the answer you want. I do so in situations where the answer is so obvious to me, as is the case here.

While living in Cambodia, we constantly marveled at the expats navigating their way through chaotic traffic on their scooters without helmets. And there you have no ambulance to pick you up if you fall (or no ambulance you want to pick you up, anyway) and the nearest reputable hospital is a plane ride away. Not so smart. Doesn't seem to stop people, though...

fixedgear said...

The moral of the story is check your tires before every ride, and be extra careful when going from bright sunlight into shade. Did I get it right?

Maynard said...

The moral, if I'm reading it correctly, is to wear white after dark and honor thy father and mother.