4 years ago10,000+ Views
Even on the crowded, chaotic streets of New York City, it is a rare occurrence for a person riding a bicycle to strike a person on foot. Rarer still is for that collision to result in serious or fatal injury. This type of accident is mostly seen with motorists hitting pedestrians; in New York 156 pedestrians were killed and thousands injured by cars in 2013 alone. Jill Tarlov, who was crossing the park's West Drive on foot, was struck by a cyclist—reportedly riding a high-end road bike and traveling at high speed— and knocked to the ground with such force that she was left brain-dead. She later died in the hospital. Almost immediately following the reports of the crash involving Tarlov, waves of passionate responses broke out online. People who love to hate bikes in New York predictably jumping on the incident. New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser’s notoriously overheated hyperbole went into overdrive as she railed against “terrorists on wheels” and “[a]ssassins in Spandex.” Death is an awful thing, especially when it was caused by an avoidable accident. However, this type of response is frankly terrifying. I'd like to give my perspective on this situation. First and foremost, the full facts of this incident have not been release. No one knows whether or not the cyclist or Tarlov made a mistake, there is no sense of placing blame on any particular party at this point. Secondly, pedestrians and cyclists are killed by motorist in the United States by the thousands. One case in particular sticks out to me. Earlier this year Milton Olin Jr., ex COO of Napster, was struck and killed while cycling legally in the bike lane. An on duty police officer hit him with is cruiser and killed him because the officer was distracted by sending text messages on his phone. This situation happens nearly weekly for cyclists and pedestrians, but when a cyclist is in the wrong everyone loves to hate them. I feel terrible for Tarlov and her family, that does not mean I should start hating every cyclist. A cyclist MAY have made a mistake, that is not a reason to take up arms against every cyclist.
I want to thank everyone for your kind words and wishes. An update on my fiancee Deborah: She has now seen the best neurosurgeon in town and he has put her on Neurontin and a steroid for the pain she is enduring. Miraculous, no bones were broken. She has swelling in her spinal cord at the base of the neck, which is giving her extreme pain in her hands. She is unable to use her hands at this time. Instead of just narcotics for the pain (which don't really relieve the pain), the Neurontin will take a few days to build up in her system and the steroid will help decrease the swelling in her spinal cord. They also discovered an arthritic condition in her vertebrae between C5 and C6, a degenerative disc. This has contributed to the severity of her pain. The good news is, she has no nerve damage, and is expected to recover fully to the condition she was in prior to the accident. She will be back on the bike in time. She is quite the trooper, and this little setback will not stop her. I love her and I am proud just to know her to begin with. Thank you again, everyone. She appreciates the kindness, and this is what we both love about the cycling community.
Any accidental death is a tragic thing that shouldn't happen, but by the very nature of being caused by accident, does happen. Unfortunately it seems the media goes with whatever is perceived to be popular opinion in a case such as this one. It's wrong and irresponsible to condemn either party as solely responsible or at fault, without seeing all of the evidence and thoroughly examining the circumstances. The author of the article is right. Too many people are too quick to jump on the 'hate cyclists" bandwagon. Whether it's because people in general tend to grow to hate what they fear, and fear what they do not understand, who knows for sure? The media is ugly about it. "Terrorists on wheels"? (Last time I checked, cars and trucks have wheels, too!). That implies murder, i.e. the intentional killing of someone. Whoever came up with that ridiculous headline needs their head examined. "Assassins in spandex"? Once again, people hate what they fear, and fear what they do not understand. A cultural barrier still seems to exist when people can't get past what we who ride happen to wear. And once again, "assassins"? Most cyclists I've known are pretty nice people in general (maybe a few can be a little arrogant at times) but far from the cold-hearted mindset of an assassin. And let's face it...assassinating someone by hitting them with a bicycle would neither be the safest nor the most effective method for an assassin. It's ridiculous and only feeds ignorance and hatred. Sometimes I think we've made progress toward acceptance by society, but then when something like this happens and the media behaves irresponsibly and runs wild with it, I start to think we're a long way from where we should be. That's sad.
They analyzed the results of the CD scan and miraculously, no bones are broken. No vertebrae, that is. What she does have is swelling in her spinal cord, at the base of the neck. They are now doing an MRI and the neurosurgeons will determine then if she will need surgery to relieve the swelling in her spinal column. This swelling explains the extreme tingling pain in her hands. Thankfully, that's all they see wrong as of now, other than a few scrapes. The MRI will reveal any possible tissue damage. I am praying she will be okay. She's tough. She's a natural athlete with incredible resolve, but this was a bad accident. I had my GoPro mounted on my handlebars but was not recording at the time. I wish I had been, as that footage could have been of some help to the doctors. I was behind her when it happened. It all happened so quickly. I've seen a lot of crashes during crit races and road races and such, but never a head-OM collision. For those who pray, please remember my fiancee Deborah in your prayers. For those who do not, please keep her in your thoughts. She's new to this sport and while she loves it, I hope that in time she will be ready and able to ride again. If not, I'll certainly understand, especially after what she's been through. I thank you all for your kind words of support. This is part of why I like the cycling community so much. I'll keep you posted. We won't know any MRI results until morning. Again. thank you all.
Sadly and ironically, here I sit in an ER with my fiancee tonight. We just went on a short, easy ride early this evening. Not pushing it, just a leisurely ride on a popular trail in our city. Out of nowhere, a kid on a mountain bike, maybe 12 or 13 years old, swerves around his dad and with no time to react, crashes into my fiancee head-on. The love of my life went down face-first, and was unable to move her legs or arms. Called 911. Fortunately a woman jogging by was a physician and people gathered around to help. a passing cyclist came along who was an ER doctor. Both examined her. Paramedics came and lifted her onto a gurney. She wasn't unconscious, but very hurt and banged up. Now, five hours later, we wait for a CT scan and possibly an MRI. Fortunately her left arm is not broken but she has painful tingling in her hands and has been in a neck brace since the paramedics arrived on site. I am scared and terribly worried. Accidents do happen. The kid was banged up too and felt horrible. Hoping and praying for the best. She loves cycling. Anything can happen. A pro could not have reacted in time to avoid this kind of collision. She was only going about 8 mph. She's very careful. But accidents happen.
@MarcNelson Glad to hear that she's on her way back to 110%!
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