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Old 08-15-14, 03:16 PM   #1
MRT2
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Just witnessed a bad bicycle accident today. Happened on a bike path.

I was out for a morning ride earlier today and witnessed a bad bike accident. It was riding with a group of 5 people heading north on a bike path just north of Milwaukee. It is a protected MUP that is paved. The paved section is raised about an inch above the ground adjacent, and the sides of the trail are dense brush and trees that slopes steeply down just off the paved trail.

The guy riding just behind me swerved a little to his right, perhaps to avoid something in his path (I didn't notice anything, but you never know) or perhaps just a momentary lapse of concentration. Went down hard into some trees and bushes and rolled a few feet down the hill. It seems like the guy might have hit his head. He was bleeding around his face and nose, and might have suffered a concussion. Time will tell on that. We managed to extricate the poor guy from the trees and bushes, but called for an ambulance just in case.

A couple of thoughts on this.

1. One reason to consider not riding alone. Had this fellow not been riding with people, it is possible others riding by might not have noticed him in the bushes, since it isn't really all that visible from the trail, especially since he rolled a few feet down the hill. I don't think he was able to pull himself up and back onto the trail and call for help on his own.

2. Second, some folks hate wearing helmets, and it might not have made much of a difference in this case, but then again, the helmet might have been the difference between a mild concussion and possible broken nose, and a fatal skull fracture. Time will tell the extent of his injuries.

3. Along with colliding with dogs, pedestrians, inexperienced cyclists, and cars at intersections, this sort of freak accident is another example of how riding on a supposedly protected bicycle path is not necessarily any safer than riding in the road with car traffic. This type of accident would not have been as bad, or might not have happened at all, had we been riding on the street. Not saying the street is always the safer option, but just thinking about balancing risks of street vs. MUP.

Still waiting for an update about the guy's condition and hoping for the best.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:13 PM   #2
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It's also possible that the fellow who crashed was riding too close (you didn't mention distance so this is just that - a possibility) and either overlapped wheels, or was afraid that he might, or whatever. The accident could have happened anywhere, and on the street might have resulted in a brush with a curb, which is just about a sure crash.

Crashes happen, and the burm at the edge of pavement has always been a cause. When I used to lead trips a warning about the danger of trying to come back onto the road over the burm was a standard part of a pre-trip briefing.

I do agree that there's safety in numbers, or at least one buddy, when riding in areas where there's low odds of passersby spotting you after a crash. It's why I ride solo on roads, but not on unpopular off road trails.

As for the helmet, whatever effect it might have, any judgement based on that is pure speculation.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:30 PM   #3
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I hope he is OK.

If you have no option but to ride alone, like me, at least let others know of your agenda and route.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:31 PM   #4
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It's also possible that the fellow who crashed was riding too close (you didn't mention distance so this is just that - a possibility) and either overlapped wheels, or was afraid that he might, or whatever. The accident could have happened anywhere, and on the street might have resulted in a brush with a curb, which is just about a sure crash.

Crashes happen, and the burm at the edge of pavement has always been a cause. When I used to lead trips a warning about the danger of trying to come back onto the road over the burm was a standard part of a pre-trip briefing.

I do agree that there's safety in numbers, or at least one buddy, when riding in areas where there's low odds of passersby spotting you after a crash. It's why I ride solo on roads, but not on unpopular off road trails.

As for the helmet, whatever effect it might have, any judgement based on that is pure speculation.
I didn't sense he was all that close to me. I passed him on the left and as I went by him, saw he was reaching for a water bottle. then, as I was pulling ahead of him by a bike length or so, I heard him go down.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:33 PM   #5
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I hope he is OK.

If you have no option but to ride alone, like me, at least let others know of your agenda and route.
Something to consider. I sometimes go out alone and change my route as the mood strikes me.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:38 PM   #6
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Something to consider. I sometimes go out alone and change my route as the mood strikes me.
My dad has me on Find My Friends. So if I am taking "too long" to get back, he can check where I am.
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Old 08-15-14, 07:31 PM   #7
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On long rides I send my course to my kids, tell them what time I should be back and use the "One Touch Location" Android app to publish my location to a web page every 10 minutes.
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Old 08-15-14, 07:49 PM   #8
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I didn't sense he was all that close to me. I passed him on the left and as I went by him, saw he was reaching for a water bottle. then, as I was pulling ahead of him by a bike length or so, I heard him go down.
Hmm, how close to the edge was he riding?

Reach for the water bottle, wander off line just a bit, fall off the edge of the pavement....
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Old 08-15-14, 09:43 PM   #9
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Hmm, how close to the edge was he riding?

Reach for the water bottle, wander off line just a bit, fall off the edge of the pavement....
Apparently too close, but in 8 or 10 years riding this path, this is the first time I saw something like this.
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Old 08-15-14, 09:47 PM   #10
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Good thing that you and others were near to help.......don't know about the logic (I am not shy to say that I don't like sharing my path with iron horses), to compare the dangers of road versus MUP usage based on the accident.

Please update with his condition if you get it.
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Old 08-15-14, 10:03 PM   #11
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It is one incident, so hardly dispositive. I use the MUPs, but I am aware of the risks.

Update. Just heard. He was admitted to the hospital. Should be there a couple of days. Broken nose and broken jaw. Probably not a concussion. Assorted facial lacerations.

and he already vowed to get back on his bike as soon as he can.
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Old 08-16-14, 07:32 AM   #12
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Good to hear you got him the help he needed. I've never seen an accident on the Oak Leaf/Ozaukee Interurban. I can't imagine what would have caused it besides the lapse of attention/slipping off the edge mentioned by others.
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Old 08-16-14, 07:34 AM   #13
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I witnessed a bad accident once... there were 5-6 of us, riding Highway 1 down in Baja in the rain... fully loaded for touring... We were just outside of Cidad C. One of the riders clipped the wheel of the rider ahead...

Well, you know the rest.

We went on to finish our tour. And no one condemned the highway, the rain or bike touring... in spite of the cuts, scrapes, bloody knees and bandages.
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Old 08-17-14, 02:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I was out for a morning ride earlier today and witnessed a bad bike accident. It was riding with a group of 5 people heading north on a bike path just north of Milwaukee. It is a protected MUP that is paved. The paved section is raised about an inch above the ground adjacent, and the sides of the trail are dense brush and trees that slopes steeply down just off the paved trail.

The guy riding just behind me swerved a little to his right, perhaps to avoid something in his path (I didn't notice anything, but you never know) or perhaps just a momentary lapse of concentration. Went down hard into some trees and bushes and rolled a few feet down the hill. It seems like the guy might have hit his head. He was bleeding around his face and nose, and might have suffered a concussion. Time will tell on that. We managed to extricate the poor guy from the trees and bushes, but called for an ambulance just in case.

A couple of thoughts on this.

1. One reason to consider not riding alone. Had this fellow not been riding with people, it is possible others riding by might not have noticed him in the bushes, since it isn't really all that visible from the trail, especially since he rolled a few feet down the hill. I don't think he was able to pull himself up and back onto the trail and call for help on his own.

2. Second, some folks hate wearing helmets, and it might not have made much of a difference in this case, but then again, the helmet might have been the difference between a mild concussion and possible broken nose, and a fatal skull fracture. Time will tell the extent of his injuries.

3. Along with colliding with dogs, pedestrians, inexperienced cyclists, and cars at intersections, this sort of freak accident is another example of how riding on a supposedly protected bicycle path is not necessarily any safer than riding in the road with car traffic. This type of accident would not have been as bad, or might not have happened at all, had we been riding on the street. Not saying the street is always the safer option, but just thinking about balancing risks of street vs. MUP.

Still waiting for an update about the guy's condition and hoping for the best.
I ride alone. BUT, On the road. Because traffic won't take notice if it happens' on an adjacent bike path. If I do go on a bike path, it will be in a group.

I wear a helmet all the time, when I am on my bike.
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