A couple weeks ago, I was putting the finishing touches on supper, supervising homework, breaking up little boy battles, and wishing my husband would hurry the heck up and get home so he could share a bit of the load. So, you know, a pretty typical evening. The phone rings. Great, I think. That’s J calling to tell me he’s going to be late.
Yup. It was J. Calling me to tell me he was going to be late. Because he’d had a collision.
My husband commutes to work by bicycle. There are no minor fender benders when cars and bikes collide.
Jesse had been coming down a hill near his workplace. There is no bike lane on this stretch, so he took his proper positioning in the traffic lane. He was being predictable. He was wearing a bright yellow jacket. He was doing everything right.
Someone was sitting in the turning lane, wanting to turn into a shopping center. This person saw and waited for a passing car, then made his maneuver. He wasn’t being a jerk. He wasn’t trying to gun it and clear the intersection before J got there. He simply didn’t see him. He wasn’t looking for a bicycle, and therefore he didn’t see one.
J hit the brakes, but the crash was inevitable. He and his bike flew over the hood of the car and landed on the other side. The first part of J’s body to hit the ground? His head. Thankfully he was wearing, as always on these commutes, his helmet. That helmet is now rubbish. I don’t just mean the whole if you’ve been in an accident, you shouldn’t reuse a helmet, even if it looks okay bit. I mean it’s rubbish. The foam is cracked through, and the right front portion is crumpled.
If he hadn’t been wearing his helmet,… I don’t even want to complete that sentence. You can draw the obvious conclusions. J has a broken clavicle. He has three broken ribs. His right shoulder and right hip looked like raw meat when he first came home. But he came home. With all his mental faculties. It was a bad crash. But it could have been so much worse.
People. Please. Wear your helmets. PLEASE. They’re not just for mountain bikers. They’re not just for road racers. They’re not just for kids. I don’t care if you only bike for short distances. J had been on his bike for all of three minutes when this happened. I don’t care if there are hardly any cars where you cycle. It only takes one.
My second plea: when you’re driving, look for cyclists. Look for pedestrians. Cars aren’t the only road users. Thank you.