Cyclist Shatters Collarbone; Partner Pleas for More Driving Civility in Letter to the Editor
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Yesterday, June 27, my friend Kristal and I [were] cycling (southbound) along the Ave of the Giants (as we always do since we live on it) North of the Chimney Tree cafe and South of Phillipsville, when a gray/silver Honda Civic, or similar vehicle, got too close to the solid white line on the side of the road. In order for Kristal to avoid actual contact with the vehicle she needed to drastically veer off the asphalt onto what little there was for a shoulder, which caused her to crash, rather seriously.
I was ahead of her and did not see her when I looked back so I started to back track (northbound) when a gray Civic-esque vehicle passed me. I could see Kristal standing up at the same time though the bend in the road made it appear as if she were standing up in tall grass, not the asphalt, which lead me to believe she simply stopped to urinate. With this thought, I turned around and proceeded southbound to our home.
When I got home and she never returned, I went cycling back and came across her holding her arm, limping and pushing the bike almost right in front of the Chimney Tree Cafe. As I was looking for a phone to dial 911, a kind lady offered to give her a ride to Jerold Phelps Hospital. After sitting in the ER for 5-6 hours, it turns out Kristal has a shattered collar bone, among other countless abrasions. The nurses at the ER informed us that it could take up to 5 days just to get examined by an orthopedic doctor, and surgery may be required… and of course the rest of the summer to heal.
As I was talking with Kristal, she pointed out that the driver of the car was well aware of the accident and chose to drive off rather than investigate if there was any harm done. Perhaps they where aware that they broke the law requiring vehicles to give cyclists 3 feet minimum clearance (Vehicle Code 21760). At that point in time, when I looked back and simply thought that Kristal was relieving herself, we were on a rather straight part of the road. That car totally knew what it had done and both of us were seen by the driver of this car. I did call CHP to report this vehicle but there is little they can do with a car with such a ubiquitous description and vague details.
It is unfortunate how un-friendly these roads are for cyclists. I love SoHum, but I love cycling even more. I have lived all over this country and have chosen to reside here for the last 7 years and this is by far the most dangerous roads AND drivers I have ever encountered. All the laws and brightest colored signs do not soften the impact of a vehicle/bike accident.