Posted by Aleta Wright (Contributor) on April 8th, 2016 at 11:45 am
This essay is by Aleta Wright
Two women, two bikes, both 52 years of age. Two months separate our two bicycling collisions. Both of us were hit while riding lawfully in a clearly marked bike lane. We both have been smashed by the left hook. We both suffer from broken bones and recoveries of an unknown duration well into the future.
Lisa George, the woman who was hit while biking on N Williams Avenue last week, could have been me.
And the similarities don’t end there. Turns out we both have the same employer, Portland Community College. Technically, after my bike collision and two-night hospitalization it became clear that I would need to retire from PCC so that I could cash out my PERS retirement. I need to have some form of income as I complete my rounds of physical and occupational therapy. Two months out my broken bone is surely healed. I consider myself lucky to have escaped being hit, flipped and splayed across the intersection on Dartmouth in Tigard with just a broken scapula. I am blessed to be alive, ambulatory and on the way to healing and recovery.
The uninsured driver who hit me got a $200 traffic ticket.
My colleague, Lisa George, who teaches a sociology course on Thursday evenings at the Cascade campus of PCC is on the other end of the injury spectrum. She was most likely hit while commuting to work for her 6 o’clock class. Lisa does other work on campus that is vital to instructors as the co-coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC).
I can see myself in her saddle. We have much in common. We love our bikes. We both have pedaled the same streets to work.
That’s my trusty ’94 cromoly Giant. Due to my injuries I must now ride a recumbent trike.
As the dust begins to settle and the shock wears off there will be financial facts that will emerge. It is a well-kept secret that enrollment at PCC continues to plummet. The result is that for the adjuncts teaching assignments dwindle and making ends meet becomes increasingly challenging. As adjuncts work less hours their insurance coverage may lapse because the threshold for worked hours is not met. This happened to me and my college sponsored insurance plan terminated in November last year. It takes just one major catastrophic event to zap any cash reserves or banked sick leave. Something like short or long term disability is not available to part-time employees/adjuncts.
Lisa George has been the victim of a reckless driver who has severely impacted her life, career, and health for an unknown time into the future. Citizens, students and the larger PCC community, as well as the biking community, must rally behind her for all her needs, financial, emotional, spiritual, practical.
The reality is that her family will need financial support. Please visit the GoFundMe site established by her daughter to help defray the substantial costs that the family now faces in the midst of this life changing event. Give generously, give as if it were your mom, sister, wife, best friend or favorite college professor who really needs your help right here, right now.
— Aleta Wright