Why do bicyclists wait until I’m around before they try to kill themselves?
OK, the guy I found crumpled on the Roanoke River Greenway last year wasn’t trying. He just had the bad luck of hitting a huge pothole. But the bloody mountain biker pictured a month ago on this blog was lucky all he got was bloody when he hit a tree without a helmet.
And the kid I just saw crash in Roanoke got lucky, too.
I was coming back from an assignment in Vinton when this pack of teenaged kids on BMX bikes converged on the intersection of 8th and Wise. That spot is on one of my road bike loops and it’s a confusing intersection with a bunch of yield signs. I get nervous riding through there and I pay attention. These kids weren’t paying attention.
They were just riding willy nilly in the road, crossing back and forth and not looking. I sometimes see that kind of behavior from pedestrians who seem to be daring drivers to hit them.
The drivers all defered to the kids. But one of the kids didn’t see that a pickup truck was stopped and turning into a convenience store. The kid smacked the back of the pickup and crumpled on the side of the road, about 30 feet in front of me. I stopped, put on my flashers and got out.
The kid was crying and rolling around in pain saying, “Oh, my knee. My knee.” I said, while dialing 911, “Don’t worry, I’m calling help.”
And, miraculously, he quickly got better. He staggered back onto his bike and took off after his “friends,” who hadn’t exactly stuck around to make sure he was OK. I tried to convince him to sit tight — really all you can do — but he would have none of it.
I could just see a kid like that going home and telling his mom some guy hit him and
took off. So I stuck around with the driver of the truck to talk to the cops because I wanted to make sure the police knew that it wasn’t that driver’s fault.