Yesterday I saw a cyclist get hit by a car and almost get killed, save for the cyclist's youth, athleticism, and probably an ample dose of Providential protection.
The cyclist was my 19 year old son.
Tom is leaving for his sophomore year of college this Sunday and we wanted to get a ride in before he left. We took what should have been a perfectly safe route along the river and then back up to the car, which involved cycling through Seneca Park.
With 26 miles under our belts and one more to go, we had a Fred blast by us. I don't care abut that sort of thing, but it offended my son and he took chase.
We approached a busy three-way intersection that has a convergence of bike lanes, a golf cart path, and lots of motorists who try to cut five minutes off their commute by cutting through a park teeming in mid-afternoon with joggers and cyclists.
Tom went through the intersection, but a driver did not see him and T-boned him, with me about 20 yards back. He first bounced off the hood and then slammed into the windshield.
I looked on in horror as he was tossed about five feet in the air. The impact ripped the bike from under his pedals (he uses SPD's, as I do).
Much to everyone's amazement, he landed on his feet. It was one of the most incredible moves I've ever seen. He was able to get on the side of the road, with a huge gash on his forearm that was bleeding fairly vigorously. I compressed it and it stopped. Frankly it reminded me of Saving Private Ryan, my son asking me how bad it was and me saying "Just don't look at it".
We were instantly surrounded by onlookers who helped by getting extra towels, water, calling 911etc. Within five or ten minutes the police and an ambulance were there. They put him on the body board and off they went.
The offending driver was badly shaken and sobbing hysterically for about ten minutes but calmed down when we assured her that he would be fine. Her car was undriveable as the windshield was destroyed.
Tom was in the ER for about six hours. A hand surgeon was called in because to gash was low on the forearm and pretty deep. Fortunately there was no tendon injury and no broken bones.
I had bought Tom a BD Motobecane steel single speed. As best as I can tell, the frame is intact. The front wheel is beyond repair, and the rear wheel is either going to need to be rebuilt or replaced. I'll probably just replace it.
Now, if this isn't surreal enough, the commotion tossed my oldest daughter into labor and at 4:30 AM today she delivered a healthy little baby girl.
So in a very weird way it was worth it.
Sorry, no blood and guts photos.