27% of SF Cyclists in Collisions with Cars the Past 2 Years

July 11, 2008 at 8:53 am 1 comment

According to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Report Card, 12% of cyclists surveyed were injured by motorized vehicles in the past two years. If those cyclists surveyed are representative of the general cycling population, cyclists have about a 1 in 16 chance of being injured by a car each year.

The other day I met Amy whose story puts a face to these statistics. Here is her story from her blog:

“I was run over by an 18 wheeler on Folsom and 8th Street in San Francisco. That was my first hit and run. I came up to a stop light in the bike lane and pulled up next to an 18-wheeler that had no turn signal on. So I assumed he was going straight, as was I. Always assume people are going to be a**holes, and you should be fine. Since I assumed he wasn’t turning, I start to go when the light turns green, and so does he. But then he throws a little surprise at me and starts to turn right in front of me, leaving me no where to go but under the rear wheels of his trailer. He flipped me off my mountain bike, pinned me underneath it and proceeded to run over my front wheel. My frame broke completely in half, crushing my left leg with the back bike wheel.

That a**hole hit and ran. Yes, he knew he hit me. He stopped half a block away, in the middle of the block, not at a light. I heard one of the witnesses say to the police on the phone “yes, he’s stopped, he’s half a block away”. But he had taken off before the cops got there, and no one, NO ONE out of the half dozen kind people that stopped to help me got the license plate.”

Amy was also in another bike crash after this one:

“My boyfriend and I were riding our bicycles home on a Saturday night about a seven minute ride to my house, pretty much a straight shot down one street. He watched as a pick-up truck plowed into me from behind, my new, glittery, awesome bike being sucked under the truck as I flew on to the hood. What happened next was unclear, but somehow my body was thrown approximately 60 feet in the air to my final crash landing on my right ear. My ear was partially detached has left a huge scar on an approximately 3″x4″ piece of my scalp that will never grow hair again. My ear is still in tact, I just can’t hear that well. The truck sped off, that’s right, hit and run around the corner. The 17-year old girl driver was stopped by police for speeding, and was found to be drunk driving. The caved in hood of her truck, thanks to the impact of it hitting my body at an estimated 40mph and 9-11 call from my boyfriend right around the corner with a description of the truck were enough to link the two.

I lay there in my boyfriend’s arms muttering some unintelligible sounds and fighting to get up, as people in shock often do, thinking they’re fine and ready to get going on their way as nothing is if wrong! The ambulance took me to the emergency room where I spent almost 16 hours being inspected and watched over, apparently causing quite a fright on numerous occasions as it was questionable whether or not I would survive and with what injuries. From the stories of friends coming to see me those first few days (granted I didn’t look at a mirror until about day 6 or 7 of being in the hospital) I couldn’t have looked less like myself. The only thing identifying me to loved ones being my unmistakable laugh and unwavering sense of humor. I give the morphine props for that.

But, lightly put, it doesn’t look to be an easy case where just punishment will be served or that I will get help paying the $100,000-plus bills I’ll be racking up from the hospital. Hopefully I can get some state funding, but it won’t cover everything. And, this doesn’t even address problems I’ll face in the future and subsequent therapy for mind and body when I’m able. I’m trying to look on the positive side, and having the fund raiser is one way I’m ensuring that.”

Amy still bikes despite being in two major bike crashes. She still has hospital bills so consider donating here.

I have read statistics that say up to 60% to 70% of people would like to bicycle more but one of the main detractors is fear of being hit by cars. We need to make cycling safer in San Francisco. The SF Bike Coalition is a wonderful organization working to make cycling more viable. They have volunteer nights and other events they need help with. Also consider becoming a member for $35 and get a 10% discount at Rainbow Grocery and other bike shops and stores.

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