As a football fan I can recall many instances when players have taken a knee and gathered around a fallen teammate in a severe amount of pain. They look stunned and genuinely shaken knowing full well they could be next in their dangerous profession. A few minutes pass, the whistle sounds and they continue smashing each other like nothing happened. But, I have to believe somewhere in the back of their mind some image from their teammate’s injury leaves an indelible mark and thanks to instant replay we have all them too.
Last week left an indelible mark on my brain after I rode by the scene of the accident on highway 36 and Hygiene road that has received much attention this week. (Insert boulder camera link here). I don’t know how many minutes had passed before I arrived, but when I saw the dozen or so emergency vehicles I knew something bad had happened. I slowed of course and had to veer into the highway to avoid the scene and when I looked over I say an image that will be with me until I die. A large pool of blood with a shirt crumpled in the middle puddled on the side of a damaged car. With no other car around I knew it had to be a biker. I swallowed hard, especially as I am not one who handles blood well, and then I saw a cyclist sitting upright in the shoulder holding his head and thought maybe things weren’t has bad as they seemed.
I rode on trying to piece together what had happened and slowly regained my composure and had a good ride. Later a link to a blog was sent to us at 303 from a man who was riding with the person injured. I think the cyclist I saw on the road was the man who wrote the blog and presumably was crying after his friend had been rushed to the hospital. I won’t share the graphic details his blog did, the injuries to his friend are life changing and I simply keep putting myself back at the scene wondering how awful it was. She had t-boned a car pulling onto highway 36. The details of how the collision occurred seem sketchy as it was reported the car had come to a full stop before impact.
I’m not going to speculate but I can empathize as I was once t-boned a car that had turned in front of me coming down Lookout Mountain. I flew over the car and landed on the pavement and walked away a bit stiff and scuffed up but with no injuries to speak of and only a broken bike to worry about. How did I get so lucky and how it is this woman faces a major uphill medical battle?
Where does fate, some may call it luck, play into our lives and how do we be more thankful for the place we are at and try not worry about the future and learn from the past but not dwell on it?
As a road cyclist we know we play in a dangerous playground at times. We can only control what we do, and I try to always ride like a motorist. I don’t blow through stoplights and admittedly I don’t come to a complete stop at stop signs much of the time, but I do think of myself as a car and take the lane when I have to, signal most of the time and simply try to ride with confidence.
Seeing the aftermath of such a terrible accident makes me want to ride with more precision and care and do everything possible to simply be aware of potential hazards. I think all of us as cyclists need to ride with more care and be respectful of the rules and motorists and not think of ourselves any differently or better than anyone behind the wheel.
We all know motorist who don’t like us, who try to intimidate us or make us feel unwanted on “their” roads. There is nothing we can do about those sentiments but we must simply be aware and be bigger than cars in attitude and be mindful of the dangers we face but not be afraid to take to the roads. Accidents happen in all facets of life despite the best prevention possible.
Let us mourn the losses but move forward to make a difference and try not to rely on fate to tempt us but rather rely on experiences to shape us.