Thursday, June 18, 2009

Too Close To Home

A friend of mine was hit by a car on Doughtery Ferry Road last week, at a spot I - and a lot of you - pass regularly.
I'll let him tell the story:

[My wife] and I were riding single file along the right-hand white line of south-bound Doughtery Ferry, just where the road widens from two lanes to three lanes to make the right-turn lane for Carman Road (about a block away from the front of Barrett Elementary). [My wife] was about 50 meters behind me. It was 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. As I recall we had a green light to proceed.

An SUV driven by a 19-year old woman talking on a cell phone cut between [my wife] and me, and plowed straight into me at approximately 40 mph, never hitting the brakes until after hitting my bike. The entire episode was witnessed (apparently) by a St. Louis County sheriff who was traveling north on Doughtery Ferry.

The SUV drove my bike seat through the left transverse processes of my lower three lumbar vertebrae, fractured my left pelvis, and broke my left femur into four pieces; fortunately the head stayed in the socket, the highest break occurring at the neck. That impact drove my abdomen into my handlebars, thrusting me horizontally off the bike to the right, into and across the righthand lane. My right scapula fractured into multiple pieces in situ (no repair possible) and broke off the end fragments of my 10th and 11th right thoracic ribs.

After four days in traction, the femur was repaired with plate and five screws, staples removed yesterday. I'm allowed no weightbearing activity of any type on my left leg and right arm, meaning I'm wheelchair bound until Labor Day. PT and OT plus lots of friends have restored my faith in humanity and the value of staying fit (the trauma and OR teams at St. Johns' were pretty convinced that I could easily have died).

That just scares the hell out of me. I think all of us have had a close call at that intersection. Fortunately my friend is alive and on the mend, but it will be a long road back.


Anonymous said...

We are all pulling for your friend. Was the woman charged with anything?

Arun said...

Wow! I read your post and it really makes me wonder about riding on the road. I realize that we take risk in everything we do (driving our car, flying ) and is a very unfortnate accident. I live in Chicago and ride in traffic daily. So I realize I am at risk. I try to be an extremely defensive driver, but sometimes that is not enough. I pray for your speedy return to health. I am curious to hear if you plan on when you have healed your wounds.
May god be with you,

Curt said...

I've never liked that section of Dougherty Ferry (between 270 and Big Bend). Strikes close to home (literally and figuratively). Godd fortune (what little can be found in this story) that an officer witnessed the "accident" and that presumably EMTs able to respond quickly.

Sam Sylar said...

As far as I know, the girl was not charged with anything. But I hear her insurance company is not happy with her, and she's grounded for a month. I guess that's something.

Anonymous said...

Something's fishy here if she wasn't charged - MO Statute requires 'safe passing' of cyclists and pedestrians by motorists. The fact that the driver hit the cyclist is proof that she did not pass safely, especially with a sheriff as a witness.

No such law existed when I was hit, and the driver was still charged in municipal court with careless and imprudent driving - sort of like a DUI, but then I sued the $hit out of him! I suggest your friend do the same - that SUV's gotta be worth something :)