Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 8th, 2009 at 2:25 pm
"We should also remember that accidents happen, they happen driving, walking, and cycling."
-- Anonymous rider who was involved in a collision on the Hawthorne Bridge
The man who was involved in a horrific crash on the Hawthorne Bridge on Wednesday has come forward with his version of how it happened.
The eyewitness account of the collision has sparked a lot reaction from the community. The BTA has just published their perspective on the crash, saying "This is the most gruesome consequence of bike congestion and bad behavior to have come to our attention."
Now, the man who an eyewitness referred to as "riding like an idiot" wants to set the record straight.
He contacted us via email and asked to remain anonymous because he's an "active member of the cycling community" and he claims there has been "false and damaging information published about my cycling behavior."
Here is his email:
I would like to address a few things about this very eloquent, but inaccurate depiction of the events that took place two days ago on the Hawthorne.
As I got on the bridge my average rate of speed was faster than the aggregate. The entire time I was riding on the bridge I had stayed on a trajectory hugging the left edge of the path as safely possible. As I passed cyclists and pedestrians I gave a “left” call before committing to moving ahead of those people to the right of me.
As I came up on a woman, she was riding just to the right of the middle of the path. There was a person that I would estimate walking 15-20 feet directly ahead of the woman. As I came up riding to the left of her, I again called out “left” before committing to moving in front of her while staying on my same trajectory. When I was parallel with her handle bars she turned her bicycle to the left and our handle bars slightly hit each other. I was able to ride through. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the woman was wobbling and her trajectory was moving to the left, crossing the path which I had just crossed.
[Note: The eyewitness account stated that, "Because the woman was riding about two feet from the edge of the sidewalk, the guy moved to the middle."]
She then hit the grate and the car stopped just before a large collision as [the witness] describes. Now I can understand how he perceives me riding to the right of the women in the middle of the path. The woman did end up on the road, which was to her left. But their was no force coming from her right pushing to the left, as I was completely to the left on the same trajectory I had been the entire ride over the Hawthorne.
I just want to remind people, as they read about this story, it is easy to see the aftermath of a horrible accident and assume, which then becomes a belief, what happened to create the critical point where trajectories change and accidents happen. We should also remember that accidents happen, they happen driving, walking, and cycling. One incident viewed by a person with poor understandings of the events is no reason to discourage people from cycling."
The eyewitness said, "[The rider] deserves whatever punishment or lawsuit that he gets. There was absolutely no need for him to ride the way he did, none whatsoever."
The woman who crashed contacted us with this update on her condition:
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"I was discharged from the ER late Wednesday night - thanks to a crew of loving friends and a fantastic GF, I'm doing okay. The damage totals 17 stitches in various places on my face, two elbow staples, a ton of scrapes and bruises and a face so swollen my mom may not recognize me. Still, though, no broken bones and no organ damage. My brain is fine, although my memory of the incident and the following 6 hours are hazy.
I think I'm going to browse new helmets online. The old one is definitely retired."