January 24, 1998 in Washington Voices

Bike Helmets Crucial To Safety As Valley Couple Learns Hard Way

Jodi Mcintyre
 

Early last Sunday afternoon, my husband and I decided to go for a ride on our new tandem bike.

From our home in Millwood, we headed out along Trent, planning to connect with the Centennial Trail near Spokane Community College.

We were having fun riding along and enjoying the lovely day.

I asked my husband, Joe, if he thought we should be wearing helmets. He replied, “That’s a thought.”

Indeed, it would have been a very good idea.

We hit the railroad tracks near the college and the next thing I knew we were going down.

Joe, who was on the front of the tandem, took the bike forward and hit hard, head-first, knocking himself out. I was on the back and hit the ground hard once with my right knee and elbow, but never my head.

I saw my husband slide for about six feet, head down, scraping against the ground. I couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t lift his head. Of course, he couldn’t, as the impact had knocked him cold.

I thought he was dead.

Thank goodness for two men who happened to be driving by when we fell. They immediately stopped their pickup truck and ran over to help us.

I was banged up, but my husband was a bloody mess.

A firefighter from the nearby fire station saw the accident and ran over to see if we needed help. She ran for some supplies to try to stop the bleeding on my husband’s head. Meanwhile, one of the fellows from the pickup used his cell phone to call 911.

After the paramedics arrived, the men in the pickup wished us “good luck” and drove away. We went down to the fire station and called one of Joe’s brothers to come pick us up.

As we waited for his brother, I kept seeing the accident again in my mind. Over and over, I saw Joe’s head sliding against the ground and felt that helpless feeling I had experienced when the accident first happened and I thought he had been killed. Those images and feelings kept replaying all afternoon and evening.

My husband and I were treated at the hospital and released that evening. I had bummed up my elbow and knee. My husband had six major cuts that would have normally required stitches, but they couldn’t do that because he had too much dirt and gravel in the wounds. His eye was swollen shut and his head hurt terribly.

Still, I realize how lucky we really were.

In just a split second, our lives could have been forever changed - or even ended - by that bicycle accident.

Because of all the confusion, we didn’t get a chance to express our gratitude to the men who stopped to help us. I want to thank them so much. It’s nice to know that there are still people out there who care about their neighbors.

In our family, there is a new rule: No helmet, no bicycle riding. We had to learn this lesson the hard way.

I hope everyone who reads this will remember to wear a helmet the next time they go bike riding. It could save a life, maybe your own.

xxxx


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