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Esplanade rider seeks clues about serious crash

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 23rd, 2008 at 12:16 pm

A man who ended up in the emergency room after a serious crash while riding on the Eastbank Esplanade last Friday (9/19) is looking for witnesses to help him piece together what happened.

Richard B. (he didn't want to share his last name) says it was about 3:45 pm and he was riding south on the Esplanade just past the Fire Station near the Hawthorne Bridge. Here's how he describes what happened next:

"It was one of my regular rides. I remember going by the fire station, then except for one brief blurry memory of an EMT lifting me into the ambulance, the next memory is being in the emergency room at OHSU after CT scan and evaluation."

Richard says the EMT's report cites a bike collision but doesn't give many other details. He says someone apparently called 911 on his behalf but at this point, he wants to know more about what happened.

"It really does not change much," he wrote in an email to me yesterday, "but it would be nice to know."

Besides memory loss, the crash left him with broken ribs, a very sore body and neck, and a cracked helmet.

Richard was riding alone and says the EMTs didn't look in his helmet for ID. Luckily, he says he "woke up enough to give them my wife's cell number" but now he wonders where others carry ID.

If you saw this crash, please contact me at jonathan[at]bikeportland[dot]org and I will connect you with Richard.

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  • jeff September 23, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    "didnt look in his helmet for ID."

    Interesting, my helmets have contained my info and emergency contact for quite some time, I really thought that's where an EMT would look.

    Also, it's worth programming your emergency contact into your cell phone if you carry one as "ICE" for In case of Emergency, EMTs look there too.

    http://www.snopes.com/crime/prevent/icephone.asp

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  • carry ID when you ride September 23, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    My wife got me one of those Road ID bracelets. It has your name and important contact info like other phone #s, medical allergies, etc. I usually carry my insurance card in my pocket as well.

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  • Mike Murray September 23, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    My experience as an ED doctor is that bicycle helmets don't often make it into the ED. I suspect that they are often shattered and either get lost in the confusion or get attached to the bike and go wherever that goes. Although putting ID info in a helmet is not a bad idea, I expect it would often get missed. The ICE number in a cell phone is an OK idea. Personally I wear a ID tag on a string around my neck. Haven't had to use it ... Yet. EMTs are used to looking there and at wrists for Medic Alert tags so it would get noted there. A wallet in a pocket will generally get noticed too.

    Mike Murray

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  • JV September 23, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I have a RoadID that I wear virtually every time I ride. I got it after what seemed like a cluster of posts on this site a couple of years ago seeking contact info for John Doe cyclists in the ICU after crashes. I have no relationship with the company, but it has worked well for me; sturdy and (should be) fairly obvious to first responders.

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  • Peter Noone September 23, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    How about getting your SSN tattooed onto a standardized location on your body? Perhaps a bar code? Or, maybe RFID would be better.

    Anyway, I'm way off topic.

    Regarding the crash, I'm not clear from the story whether there was another bike involved or not.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) September 23, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    "I'm not clear from the story whether there was another bike involved or not."

    that's the problem.. Richard's memory blanked out and he's not sure who/what was involved.

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  • Murray September 23, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Hey Mike,

    I carry a typed sheet of ICE information in a plastic bag that carries a spare tube. I store that stuff in my jersey pocket when I go on long road rides. Do you think that EMTs would check for that?

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  • Jebus September 23, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I just wear my dogtags on my rides... but just one at a time. My wife carries the other... Name, SSN, Blood Type... good info to have at a moments notice...

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  • bahueh September 23, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    has Richard been checked out for seizures..his injuries are symptomatic of simply falling over on a bike (yes, I know that I'm generalizing so put the flamers down)...which would indicate maybe he just blacked out...

    too little information to help him much unfortunately..

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  • BURR September 23, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    sounds like maybe some one came from the side and hit him, maybe down the ramp from the Hawthorne viaduct w/o stopping or checking to make sure it was clear before pulling out?

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  • Dave September 23, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    It's never occurred to me to put info in my helmet, and so would never occur to me to look for it there on someone else.

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  • jeff September 23, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    "It's never occurred to me to put info in my helmet, and so would never occur to me to look for it there on someone else."

    I guess that's why I'm a bit surprised - every helmet I've ever purchased as I recall (last two were Giro and Specialized) came with a little emergency contact sticker to fill out and stick on.

    RoadID bracelet is probably the best bet, as EMT's do look for medic alert bracelets as Mike mentioned.

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  • Refunk September 23, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    First, Richard, I wish you speedy healing and recovery. Sleep lots!

    Second, I had this very thing occur to me June 29th of this year, on a different path. Crash, concussion (I had lost my helmet two days before), rib-busting, road-rashing mystery with no memory of the event.

    That occurred on an empty trail after 2200 hrs (I came to at 2229) and I don't carry a cell phone. I slowly picked up and reinstalled the scattered stuff off the bike (fully loaded touring frame, returning from multi-state ride) and painfully rode the rest of the way home. X-rays, CT scan, drugs and so on came in the next few days. No ER or EMTs. Life sucked for a few weeks thereafter.

    I always ride with a NOKR (Next Of Kin Registry) pocket (just a thin flap of a thing) on my shoe, held by the shoelaces or a Velcro shoe closure. It contains a copy of my driver's license and contact info for my wife. Eventually, somebody's gonna get around to looking at and/or taking off yer shoes if you're hospitalized.

    It's still weirdly disturbing not to know what happened.

    If anyone saw anything that might have been Richard's crash that afternoon on the Esplanade, please come out with it. Beside the possibility of others' involvement, I'll bet more info would definitely be better for Richard's peace of mind.

    Best guess for my own pavement inspection is blacking out (and consequently losing control) right at a really bad seam in the path, since the last thing I remember is a clear view of that spot (with no one else present). I refuse to believe that I was abducted by a UFO, like my friend insists...

    Here's to getting back in the saddle, Richard! (author raises his spiked espresso in salute)

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  • Mike Bratty September 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I would say that if someone is not conscious and possibly sustained neck injuries, why would an EMT remove someone's helmet? Sounds very risky to do so, possible further the neck injury. Anyway, I take that route several times a day and it is pretty open right before you start under the bridge. It seems hard to understand how an accident could have happened without some kind of warning prior to the impact. I hope you recover well.

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  • K'Tesh September 23, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Having had three concussions, I can understand exactly what Richard is going thru. I can only remember vaguely, one of the times (and as fate would have it, it was the one time I had a helmet on).

    One was a kite flying incident (if your kite can't KILL you, it's TOO SMALL!), the other was an assault, and the last I was run into the back of a stopped car while riding my bike (was wearing helmet).

    Richard, I hope that you are able to heal fully and fast, and that you do find the truth.

    All The Best!
    K'Tesh

    PS I never travel without ID now.

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  • Cecil September 23, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I wear a RoadID - they are relatively inexpensive and you can pack a lot of information on them.

    I was told at a first aid seminar for ride leaders that EMT and police will not always look in a wallet or open up a cell phone directory at an accident scene and that they are trained to look for ID bracelets or dog tags

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  • Lynne September 24, 2008 at 1:23 am

    +1 for the RoadID. I have the ankle band version, which counts as my rando-required reflective ankle band.

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  • Opus the Poet September 24, 2008 at 4:23 am

    That sounds a lot like what happened after I was hit by the truck, I was JRA heard someone swearing, and the next thing I know I'm telling really bad jokes in the ambulance, and the only thing I know about the wreck is stuff I learned about it after the wreck. I also have to come down in favor of the Road ID or a set of dog tags. Last I checked you could go to most Army-Navy stores and get a set of dog tags made

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  • MAF September 24, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Richard B.-- If somebody did call 911, there should be a record of the call at the City of Portland's Bureau of Emergency Communications. Maybe the person who called it in gave a description of what happened?

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  • Kt September 24, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Also +1 on the RoadID bracelet. I've got the ankle one, and always wear it while riding.

    I also carry a small wallet with my license, car insurance, and health insurance cards, as well as a couple dollars. And I carry a cell phone.

    My only concern with carrying something attached to your shoe is... what happens when you get knocked out of your shoes? Don't laugh, it has happened.

    And carrying something around your neck... not my preferred method, there's always a chance you could get it caught or something. Yes, I'm paranoid about that sort of thing. Also, your string or chain could break or come undone, and you could lose it.

    Richard, I hope you heal up, and that you find what you are looking for! Someone called 911, so someone knows what happened.... did you go back to the scene and talk to the firemen at the station? Maybe they saw something... (I'm not familiar with that area, so I'm not sure how close the station is to the scene)

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  • shanana September 24, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Whenever I leave the house, even if it's just to walk the dog I always carry 3 items: ID (drivers license), health insurance card, & blood donor card.

    I thought those had me covered, but after reading the other posts I realized there's no contact number on any of those cards. I've considered the Road ID bracelet but thought it was corny and overkill. What a fool I was. Thanks for all the endorsements of the Road ID, and the personal stories...I'm off to get one now.

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  • deborah September 25, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    3:45 on a Friday afternoon at that location, there should be dozens of witnesses.
    Beware,skateboarers have been using the walls just north of the firestation as a launch pad. One just about took me out a few weeks ago then the little munchkin(about 13yrs old) hightailed it out when I yelled out.
    You've all motivated me to have more ID then my cell phone. My full name is displayed as the banner and there are a couple of people identified as ICE. Sounds like that might not be enough.

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  • TS September 29, 2008 at 2:22 am

    An ICE contact in your cell phone?

    I've never heard of that before just now, though I just now added one... in case. Where have people heard of this practice before?

    I was always told that the "standard" place for emergency contact info was in your helmet. Though in that location, it does tend to get wet, rubbed, faded, or otherwise hard to read.

    I also try to make a point of carrying a piece of ID in one pocket.

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  • Cliff Wells February 8, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I took my first trip down to the esplanade this weekend with my wife and two children. While most cyclists were riding at reasonable speeds given the size of the path and number of pedestrians and other cyclists, there were quite a number zooming along at 15 or 20mph.
    The esplanade is a disaster waiting to happen and Richard's experience is a warning (and not the first, either). The city of Portland needs to address the issue of reckless cyclists before someone is killed.

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