a letter to the editor

While out last Friday evening, a friend mentioned to me that she’d read an article about my bicycle accident in the Kirkland Reporter.  This piqued my interest, so I looked around a bit.  After a few minutes, I found it :


Kirkland cyclist in stable condition after getting hit by truck

Jul 02 2008

A 43-year-old Kirkland man who was hit by a pick-up truck while riding his bicycle was in stable condition at Harborview Medical Center after the accident in Redmond around 8:30 a.m. July 2.

The driver, a 48-year-old man whose name was not released, was not injured and there was no indication that drugs or alcohol were factors.

No criminal charges will be filed for the driver because “there was no ill intent on his part,” said Redmond Police Department spokesperson Jim Bove.

Both the driver and cyclist were traveling eastbound on the 144th block of Old Redmond Way when the truck took a right turn and collided with the bike. The bicyclist was wearing a helmet and traveling in the bike lane. He was in stable condition last Wednesday after suffering a punctured lung, head trauma and eye trauma. The injuries were believed to be non-life threatening.

“With serious head injuries like this, it is a constant reminder to wear a bike helmet at all times. It very well may have saved his life,” Bove said. “Whether you are driving a vehicle or riding a bike, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially this time of the year when there are more bicycles on the road.”

Reading this story was a bit disappointing to me.  I don’t expect Pulitzer Prize work, but I would expect that the article reflects what really happened (the driver’s poor driving judgment caused my injuries, and he carried no insurance to help to pay for his mistake).  Perhaps as an exercise in futility, I wrote a letter to the editor about this seven-month-old article (see below). 

I read this story from last July with great interest, as I was the cyclist who was hit.  I am frankly a bit disappointed that neither the Redmond Police spokesperson, nor the reporter noted that the driver was negligent in making his turn.  Worth noting is that according to the police report, the driver saw me prior to making his turn, directly in front of me.  According to the police report, I had less than a second to respond, not enough nearly time to avoid the truck.  His poor judgment put me in the hospital for a month, and subjected my family and I to a difficult and lengthy recovery process.  Additionally, the driver in this case was not insured.

With a great deal of determination and inspiring support from friends and family I have come a long way back.

The quote from the spokesman focuses on wearing a helmet (good), and on "being aware of your surroundings".  As an experienced cyclist, I am indeed aware of my surroundings, and really wish that more motorists were as aware of their surroundings.

Your newspaper missed an opportunity to remind motorists how important it is to be very aware of cyclists, and to exercise good judgment.  The tone of the article seems to gloss over the motorist’s responsibility as they pilot vehicles that have such power to alter and take lives.

paul c. david

Every little bit of understanding we can build translates into saved lives and fewer people injured.


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