02

Blog

Hit and Missive: Reflections on a Bike Wreck

Our webmaster, Mike Dayton, was one of four riders hit on February 20, 2016. Here are his words about the crash, his recovery, and cycling.

I got hit. Put me down for 44 years without an injury, save for the occasional tired knee and lungs. A careful rider with a mirror to see cars that approach too quickly. A careful rider who watches and slows for riders off the back.

Yes, a careful rider, but I don’t remember seeing the car that ran over us on February 20.

The four of us were attempting Saturday’s 200k. We each knew the route and we knew each other. Like every other Saturday, we’d get through without a headache or hassle. We’d finish with minor strains and big laughs.

I got hit when the car ran us down – all four of us. To be honest, I hit my head and I don’t know anything about the wreck.

Twelve days later with my head ringing and my back aching, I was grateful to be alive. I’ve heard that in the ten or twelve days that I was unconscious, my wife was crying and my son was crying. I’ve heard that my friends showed up in the waiting room and consoled them, but I don’t know anything about those days. I don’t know who saw me, I don’t know who prayed over me, or held my hand. I just know that dozens of people were happy to see me alive. When I finally woke up, the wall was covered with posters and cards from neighbors and friends and riders across the country who had heard about my injuries and wished me the best.

Here’s an aside. We spend this time on our bikes. We think of our victories, about the hills we have climbed in front of others, about the 250 miles ridden in one day, or the multi-day pulls that leave us intact and ready for more.  I thought about those things. I’m a rider after all.

But I had more pressing problems to deal with now. The left side of my body was asleep and numb and my brain shut down every 2 hours, insisting on a nap. So, yes I was grateful to see another day. It would be two more weeks, however, before the full extent of my injuries became apparent.

Let me focus on the good things. As I talked to Kelly, I told her that I would start from zero and pick up everything emotionally and mentally again. When you live through severe injuries like I have, you get a chance to start over with your life. Instinctively I knew that, I acknowledged that, and I set my sights on a new beginning.

What does that mean to me? It means everything is positive and everything is a plus.

There are no negatives, only newfound opportunities. Never mind the sprints I had won or the hills I had climbed. Given my injuries, every step and every movement would be a positive.

When I started talking again, Kelly was there. There was a relief in her eyes and a pained smile. My son Daniel acted closer than he’s ever acted before, showering me with smiles and hugs. I hadn’t expected these things from either of them. As I began my recovery, I was confused by their actions and also grateful for them.

Meanwhile, the left side of my body was paralyzed. I couldn’t move my left eye or my left hand. I guess when you have a crash you pick yourself up from scrapes, burns and bruises and ride on. Not me. I was trying to make very basic things work again. So, what do you do when you can’t bike anymore – I was set to find out. I had notes from friends on the wall. They said they were thinking about me and encouraged me to ride again. But they didn’t know, no one knew the brain injuries I had suffered and how I would struggle to climb on my bike again.

Fortunately, I have Ann Groninger, a Bike Law founder and North Carolina bicycle crash lawyer, handling my case and she will get to the bottom of what caused the wreck. Please stay tuned for details about the civil case.

In the meantime, I’m working to put my life back together from the physical and cognitive deficits that I suffer. I hope you will read as my case moves forward and my recovery progresses.

If you are headed out on your bike today, please remember that every trip, no matter how short, is monumental.

Forty four years and no injury, but now I have one and it makes me rethink everything. I see biking as more important than ever, and I hope to return to it one day; after all it has been my life.   Please go out there and ride a 200k in my memory. Let’s all be safe and let’s all remember why we ride.

Now, about that driver. I’ve had drivers beep at me, throw cups at me, but this is a first. Driving carelessly and hitting one person is bad enough. You hit four people and your actions are criminal. You can’t run over four people and get away with it. I’ll leave this to Ann to sort out.

[Ed: Why Bike Law stopped using the word “accident.”]

Above are all my own thoughts. However, at this stage I would have never been able to reduce them to writing in an organized, coherent manner without the typing and edits of Kelly. So, as I recover, if you see more posts from me, please know of Kelly’s behind the scenes role until I indicate otherwise.

Thanks to Kelly and Daniel, and I want to thank all my friends around the globe. Please know that I’m not riding yet, but I look forward to the day I get back on my bike and can enjoy each and every one of you as a cyclist.

Comments

Bruce Hagen Jul 17, 2018

On July 11, 2018, a very experienced rider and friend to many in the Rockdale County area, Albert “Ab” Roesel, was killed while out on a rural road doing a ride that he no doubt had done many times before.  Ab was 75 years old.   The police investigation concluded that Ab had been headed Southbound, […]

Read More
Brendan Kevenides Jun 04, 2018

At sea a boat under power must give way to a more vulnerable craft.  The law requires that a power driven vessel give way to a sailing vessel.  A sail boat must give way to a craft engaged in fishing. These simple rules are consistent with the maxim that with greater power comes greater responsibility. […]

Read More
Commuter Bike
Bruce Hagen May 29, 2018

Recently, my wife and I moved into a new home that’s closer to my office, which has allowed me to start commuting by bike.  I rode my bike to and from my office 4 consecutive days before my schedule forced me back into the car. My hope and plan is to commute by bike at […]

Read More
Pat Brown May 10, 2018

Strength, ambition, and courage are just a few words that come to mind when we think of Anthony Lue.  Growing up, Anthony enjoyed playing competitive sports such as baseball, volleyball, basketball and mountain biking, but his true passion was discovered on his high school track.    After winning gold for 100m hurdles at the provincial championships […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Apr 30, 2018

Following a horrific bicycle crash in 2016, Dr. Michael Rifkin has become a new type of bicycling advocate — one who is deeply committed to ending distracted driving. Read his op-ed on Making Distracted Driving in Maine Taboo here. Dr. Rifkin’s piece reminds us that we can be distracted by our phones and other electronic devices even […]

Read More
Brian Weiss Apr 26, 2018

On November 21, 2017, I saw a TV news story about how the Broomfield District Attorney’s Office was routinely offering lax plea deals to drivers that injure cyclists.  In bicycle crash cases with injuries, the DA was offering plead deals to “broken headlight” or “defective vehicle” charges. A “defective vehicle” sentence is one of the […]

Read More
Atlanta's Bike Czar
Bruce Hagen Apr 19, 2018

Who is looking for a great job in a dynamic city with a great opportunity to make bicycle advocacy not just a passion, but a full time, rewarding and well-paying job?   The City of Atlanta is in search of a a new Chief Bicycle Officer to replace the outgoing CBO, Superstar Becky Katz, who after […]

Read More
Joe Piscitello Apr 04, 2018

Piscitello Law – Bike Law PA is pleased to share highlights from the third annual Vision Zero conference, held March 17 in West Philadelphia.  The event was hosted by Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition and opening remarks by the Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart encouraged 250 participants to “listen, learn and be inspired….”   Mayor James Kenney […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Apr 03, 2018

The first issue is that many bicycle crashes are not being reported into the State of Maine Crash Database, which leads to incomplete and inaccurate state-wide crash reporting data and arguably also leads to uninformed priority setting and budgetary decisions.  The crashes that are unreported and/or underreported on a state level are sometimes, but not […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Mar 25, 2018

Foundational Principles Bicycles are Traffic and Belong on Maine’s Roadways In Maine, bicycle riders are included within the definition of “traffic” and should be treated as part of Maine’s traffic system.  See 29-A M.R.S.A. § 101 (82).   Rights and Responsibilities In general, a person riding a bicycle in Maine has all of the rights […]

Read More
Joe Piscitello Mar 20, 2018

Vision Zero (VZ) is multi-nation initiative with a guiding principle that death and serious injury should not be an acceptable outcome of transportation.  Vision Zero plans often draw attention to flaws within the transportation system such as dangerous traffic patterns, speeding and a lack of sufficient protected bike/pedestrian lanes.  VZ action plans utilize data to […]

Read More
Danny Feldman Mar 15, 2018

I will not pretend to speak for all cyclists, but I feel pretty confident in saying that being passed by cars on the road is a primary area of concern. Most of the time there is no problem and the vehicle passes safely. Nevertheless, I personally have been “buzzed” more times than I wish were […]

Read More
Load More