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A Bike Accident Took One Rider’s Enjoyment Of Cycling

Here at Bike Law, we have all sorts of riders: racers, commuters, cargo bike aficionados, CX superstars, and some in between. We have folks who are deeply involved in the advocacy scene, serving on walk/bike coalitions for their respective states, and we have folks who organize or participate in racing. All of us enjoy cycling, in one form or various forms. We understand that our clients also enjoy cycling. Loss of enjoyment of cycling is a very real injury that our clients deal with.

Motorist Causes Left Hook Bicycle Crash

I recently had a client whose crash caused him to lose his enjoyment for road biking. Mike is a popular local rider in Knoxville. He had a beautiful teal Bianchi, which he took great care of, and relished riding. Before his crash, Mike was logging over 100 miles on average per week on various group and solo rides.

Mike was seriously injured on a solo ride he took one morning, on a route he knew well. The intersection where the crash occurred is a busy one, but is one which is on the signed bike route for Knoxville, with wide lanes and plenty of visibility.

This was a classic left hook case. An elderly driver made a left hand turn without yielding to oncoming vehicles and struck Mike. The driver dragged Mike and his bike partially up the roadway before coming to a stop.  Mike’s beautiful bike was shredded. Mike’s body was shredded as well.

Several days after the crash, I visited Mike and his wife at their home and collected the bike. I had to take the bike away in a large trash bag, as it was literally in pieces. Shreds of carbon fiber flaked off on my hands whenever I touched the bike. It was haunting, and it was hard to believe Mike had lived to tell about the crash.

Returning Mike’s Bike

I recently resolved Mike’s case, and when I asked Mike about the bicycle, he told me that he would like it back. I asked him if he was sure about that. He said he was, and we arranged a day to meet for him to get the bike.

I had my reservations about letting Mike see the bike. When I approached him with the bike and trash bag of various pieces, Mike began to tremble.  He told me that, on second thought, he most certainly did not want the bike back. This has stuck with me, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the loss of enjoyment of cycling for Mike.

Mountain Biking Now Rather Than Road Cycling

Over the course of my representation of Mike, I got to know him and his wife well. While the case was ongoing, whenever we would finish discussing whatever particular business had brought Mike to my office, our conversations would turn to family and hobbies. Once Mike was cleared by his doctor to resume regular activities, he started mountain biking.

One day we got into an in-depth discussion about this pastime, and Mike explained to me that he is not sure whether he is ever really going to get back into road biking.

Since the crash, Mike feels a certain safety in mountain biking that he is not able to feel on the few occasions he has gotten on his road bike. When Mike is on the trails, he knows there are not any distracted or careless drivers capable of seriously injuring him. It saddened me to hear Mike describe his fears and struggles with the idea of getting back on the road. Together he and I pondered whether he will get the desire to return to road biking in the spring of 2016, when daylight savings returns, and group riding gets under way in earnest.

It is my hope for Mike that he does get back on a road bike, something that used to bring him such joy. I hope that he doesn’t leave the road bike community behind. However, if he does choose to leave road biking in his past, who could blame him after what he has been through? Right now, Mike doesn’t enjoy road biking.

What’s inspirational and exciting about Mike’s increased involvement in mountain biking is that Knoxville boasts an amazing mountain bike scene. Mike has thrown himself into the mountain biking culture full throttle, and he is having a blast. What is a loss for the road biking scene is a gain for the mountain biking scene.

Putting Loss of Enjoyment Into Words

Mike has lost his enjoyment of one particular type of cycling. I hate that for him and every other cyclist who has been affected by a bike-car crash.

For me, riding my bike feels like freedom and adventure, with a purpose. I like having a purpose when I set out on my bike. That is when I get the most enjoyment out of cycling, and is likely why I was one of the Bike Law team members who recently added a Bullitt Cargo Bike to my collection.

How would you put your enjoyment of cycling into words? Please leave your comments below and tell us about the enjoyment that you get from cycling.

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