Local cyclist in serious condition after accident
By LAURA URSENY - Staff Writer
Article Launched: 12/23/2007 12:00:00 AM PST
Local cyclist and Chico Velo director Ed McLaughlin is in serious condition after a bicycling accident on Friday.
McLaughlin was airlifted to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where he was listed in serious condition, according to the hospital on Saturday.
McLaughlin, 63, was riding through Bidwell Park with a group of cyclists in a tight pack when his bicycle struck a bollard.
He was thrown from the bike, and struck his head. He was wearing a helmet at the time. He was taken to Enloe Medical Center.
City Councilwoman and bike shop owner Ann Schwab was with McLaughlin at Enloe Friday afternoon. She told the Enterprise-Record Saturday that McLaughlin suffered from a severe spinal injury.
Schwab said McLaughlin was conscious on Friday, but in great pain. She said he had no feeling or movement from his chest down, or in his arms.
Schwab said the bollard McLaughlin hit was on the north side of Bidwell Park, between Petersen Drive and Madrone Avenue.
"I'm sure he's gone by there a million times and never had a problem," Schwab said.
Local real estate agent Leif Petersen was riding behind McLaughlin at the time of the accident.
"I heard him call out the (first) pole. You do that out of courtesy when you're riding together. Then he hit (a second one). I was right on his wheel, so I was trying to avoid colliding with him. I pulled off the road. I didn't see him fall. I just looked back and saw him on the ground."
An acquaintance, Petersen said the group of about 15 riders was going about 10 to 12 mph.
"He hit the pole dead-on. It sheared off his fork," which holds the front tire.
Petersen said a doctor participating on the ride tended to McLaughlin before the emergency personnel got there.
Schwab spoke with the physician who examined McLaughlin at the hospital and read the results of medical tests, including an MRI.
"The doctor reviewed the MRI results and found he had severe injury to the spinal cord," Schwab recalled of the doctor's conversation.
"If anyone can recover from this, it would be Ed," said Schwab.
His partner Suzanne Hanson is at the hospital with him, Schwab said.
A healing circle for Ed McLaughlin is planned at 8 p.m. Monday in City Plaza.
Friends and acquaintances are invited to gather for McLaughlin, who was injured in a bicycle accident on Friday.
People are asked to ride their bicycles to the downtown park.
Cards can be sent to Ed McLaughlin, c/o Customer Service Department, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, 751 South Bascom Ave., San Jose, CA 95128. Flowers are not recommended yet.