By Bill Plock
Too often we see headlines or hear reports of a cyclist being hit by someone driving a car. Unfortunately all too often we (media) seem to move on to the next story and those in the cycling community don’t really get updates on the victim’s condition or what’s happening with the investigation. Sometimes it’s not possible to know, or sometimes the cyclist would rather not share for privacy or legal reasons.
But in this case, Chris Jacobs spoke with me on the phone in a labored voice due to the neck brace he has to wear. He then provided me with a written statement about how he is doing. The crash is still being investigated and as of now, no suspect(s) have been identified. Chris is anxious to get back on his bike and hopes to in eight to twelve weeks.
BUT, as long as the case is open, his bike will be held as evidence and it can be held up to eight years according to Chris!! So if you have an extra bike , size XL he could borrow or get a deal on, I’m sure he would greatly appreciate it! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Here is the written statement Chris provided:
The days following the accident have been a rollercoaster of emotions. I expect that will continue for the next few weeks. I feel I am slowly coming to grips with my new reality.
My mental and physical challenge started from the moment I regained consciousness on the ground. My first thought was to slow my breathing, get up, shake it off and get back on my bike. My body unfortunately had a different agenda. I was told I was able to sit up on my own but I have no memory of that. That was my first small physical accomplishment. I lost consciousness again until the paramedics arrived and woke me with smelling salts and a peppering of questions. I was surprised to find that I didn’t know where I was or what happened. But as they loaded me into the back of the ambulance my thoughts cleared. I noticed my left shoe was missing and felt a lot of pain in my left leg. My foot was literally ripped out my shoe during the accident. From the pain I felt I knew there was no bike riding in my near future.I felt a lot of pain and tension in my lower back. I tried to relax and breathe to relieve the tension but nothing worked. The pain was there for days and after many x-rays and MRI I began to understand why. Knowing the extent of my injuries in the hospital I began to fall into despair.
I’m an avid rider for three reasons; fitness, challenge and travel.
Every year I have a set of challenges and goals I must accomplish. Knowing now that I would need 8-12 weeks to recover from my injuries was mentally devastating. Cancelling my summer goals filled me with feelings of regret, frustration and disappointment. But with each day that passes and my healing progresses I know I am one day closer to getting back on my bike.
With each day that passes my confidence grows knowing that my situation could have been much worse. Clearly I should be grateful that, unlike many other bikers, I was not crippled or killed. That thought, however, doesn’t really soothe the anger I feel towards the person(s) who hit me. Was their decision to drive away and leave me on the side of the road made any better or less criminal because I was injured and not killed? It”s frustrating to not know how or why the accident happened. It’s galling to know that someone understands what they did and still does not have the courage to come forward and admit their responsibility. I would ask them one simple question. Why? Forget how it happened for now, just tell me why you left me for dead on the side of the road! It”s difficult to swallow that I may never get the answer to that question.
From this point I continue moving forward everyday. I’m determined to heal as fast as possible, both physically and mentally. One is dependent on the other. Getting back to my previous fitness level will go a long way to helping me regain my mental confidence. At the same time I can’t get back to my previous fitness level without the confidence and determination I get from a positive mindset. I won’t now how I will feel on my first day back on my bike until that day comes. But I am confident that day will come soon.