CdM Crash Victim Speaks up

“Do you know what happened?”

“You were left-hooked,” I explain, then tell him what Deputy Chief McGill told me of the circumstances of the crash.

“The vehicle, if it hit me head-on, I wouldn’t be talking to you.”

“I’m looking through one eye, I can’t see my wife. My other eye has blood pouring over it. I tried to say ‘I’m ok,’ but I don’t know if she heard me.”

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An email popped up, “Approve this comment?”

Please contact me; If you are speaking of this past Sunday, 6/10/2012; around 3:30PM, I was that cyclist lying in the street. I have no idea where the car came from. I hit my brakes and recall seeing White/Glass… and nothing after that. My wife was behind me. My bike (Team Sky Blue Pinarello Dogma) I understand was in pieces. I was taken to Memorial Hospital Trauma ER…sustaining numerous fractures… and was a guest of theirs for two days. I am at home now resting. mark d goodley. I would like to hear anything at all about the accident. TY

He’d seen the link in BikingInLA which everyone follows. Blogger Ted Rogers chronicles his rides, bike news, inspiring reflections on cycling around LA, but what brings many of us back time and again — he tallies bike crashes, the body count for all of Southern California. Mark found a link to his own crash here; he was eager to learn what happened.

He kept blacking out, trying to stay conscious and calling for his wife. She was riding just 6′ behind him; they were heading home after sampling the local delicacies at Brueggers Bagels and Sees Candy — Mark had a bag with bread and cheese looped over his handlebars — treasure for later after a stop at Vin Goat.

“I think my wife had the worst of it, she has to look at me. ‘Bloody hamburger’ is how she describes my face.”

Mark woke in the ambulance, “The ride to the hospital took a long time; I thought I’d be going to Hoag, but they don’t have a trauma center. I was going to Memorial in Mission Viejo. As soon as I get there I go into emergency plastic surgery. And, I’ll tell you, those doctors were great — everything at the hospital was excellent. My face was separated from my nose, my nose from my upper lip; my wife said she could see bone.”

Add a separated shoulder, lacerated arms and legs; Mark showed me a few pictures. He spent 2 days in the hospital and 9 days later he was still home in bed. “I’m not seeing any visitors.”

No newbies to riding, Mark tells me how he and his wife have pedaled several stages of the major European tours. They ride 10,000 miles a year, but this Sunday was all about having fun in Corona del Mar.

My interest, right from the beginning, is the circumstances of the crash. Would the Sharrows proposed for Coast Hwy have made a difference?

It was a busy time of day on a busy road — traffic was backed up in both directions as my wife and I were walking home.

Moving in and out of consciousness, the brain can’t save short term memories — Mark could only recall snippets, “They cut the jersey off me.”

This part of Coast Hwy is slightly uphill, causing cyclists to slow. Sharrows would encourage riding in the middle of the lane where they’ll be more visible, out of the door zone. Cars won’t share the lane; they’ll either follow behind or move over to pass.

Today what’s so common: bike riders are unnerved by the narrowing lane through town and poorly compensate by riding too close to the parked cars, risking great injury from opening doors.

Sharrows will encourage safer habits by alerting motorists of the cyclists’ right to such lane positioning. “Bikes May Use Full Lane,” signs are what many communities display to get the message across. Mark doesn’t remember his lane position, but admits to letting cars pass him.

I can see it from both sides. As the motorist, you’re waiting to turn left across Coast Hwy. As far as you can see, traffic is backed up — then there’s a gap, you don’t want to miss this opportunity, so you step on the gas and get halfway across the intersection before — you see it from the corner of your eye — a cyclist — you never saw him, he was obscured by the oncoming cars. It’s too late…

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Mark and I chat for a long while. “I knew of the Bike Safety Committee meetings, but I never made the time to come.”

Don’t wait, add your voice to these safety discussions. Join us 4:30pm Monday July 2nd at the Central Library on Avocado. Mark will be there.

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Photo courtesy NBPD.

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