Deadly weekend for triathletes shows both the good and the bad of car vs. bike accidents
Posted Aug 04 2009 5:28pm
You know when the story starts out like this that' s it is not going to end well.
"When an officer stopped the speeding vehicle, shortly after the 8 a.m.
accident on Chamberlain Lane in eastern Jefferson County, the bicycle
was still lodged in its windshield."
In fact the bicyclist John Carr, 47, was struck and killed by Kenneth Yates, 25 (who was allegedly drunk), while racing the bike portion of a small local sprint triathlon in Louisville, Kentucky.
Yates, the driver of the car, was "was charged with murder, drunken driving, leaving the scene of an
accident, assault on a police officer, fleeing and resisting arrest,
and operating a vehicle on a suspended license, according to Alicia
Smiley, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police Department." according to the courier-journal.com.
But to sum up basically Yates (pictured in the right) struck Carr and when stopped by the police who were directing traffic for the race because he still had the bike stuck to his windshield, ran away to his home only to have his mom bring him back to the scene of the tragedy.
Now contrast that tragic incident with the story of professional triathlete Greg Bennett who also was struck by a car at 40 mph in Boulder, Colorado this weekend.
Bennett told Slowtwitch.com "while nursing a severely sore
shoulder, swollen knees, and a suspected broken nose."
"I was riding a mile from home on North Broadway across the street from
Amante coffee shop. We were both
going south on a slight downhill, fairly fast. I was in the bike lane
and he was just in front of me when he suddenly put on the brakes to
turn into a driveway on the right and there was nothing I could do. He
hit me and my head hit the curb and my front wheel buckled and all that
type of stuff. I think maybe most of the force came from hitting the
curb. Then I was laying out on the pavement in shock.”
But unlike the accident in Kentucky the driver who struck Bennett did not run away.
In fact and according to Bennett, "The guy in the car made an honest mistake, as we all do. I could not have been hit by a nicer guy. He is an Iowa fireman, and
there are not better guys than fire-ies. This guy is usually the first
one on the scene helping people in my situation and he was devastated.
I really feel for him. It happened on his 25th wedding anniversary. He
left a long message on my phone upset and apologetic.”
The facts are pretty grim when it comes to car vs. bike accidents. When a car strikes a bike the cyclist always loses.
Perhaps if more drivers and cyclist understood that they are the same, sharing the same road, just using a different machine to travel down that road, we' d all be safer.
Hopefully we can learn a lesson of tolerance and understanding from the way Greg Bennett acted this weekend, and not the lesson of cowardice and fear from the way Yates acted.