Not your normal Sunday training ride (Part I.)… - Mickey Witte Ⓥ: Triathlete. Neuroscientist. Vegan.

Not your normal Sunday training ride (Part I.)…

10 Mar Blog | 1 comment

While riding out in Pinecrest (southwest Miami-Dade) today, a small group of 5 of us cyclists made the left turn onto Ludlam (67th Ave.) from Old Cutler Rd. (heading south riding down the much traveled route out to Blackpoint Marina), where we encountered a lone cyclist off the road on the corner standing in the grass with his bike. Whenever I see cyclists on the side of the road, I always ask them if they’re OK, which is what I did today. He waved his cell phone & shook his head yes. Many people would have taken that quick signal as a sign of relief – that this guy was OK and they could continue their Sunday morning bike ride without delay.

But as I slowed down my bike, I asked him a second time, “Are you sure you’re OK?” and I looked at him in the eyes. As a ride marshal for many multi-day charity bike rides, I’d say that 9 times out of 10, when someone waves me on (even while I’m wearing a neon ride marshal vest, indicating that I’m clearly someone who can help you), they usually actually do need help, but they either don’t want to burden anyone or they are too proud to accept help. When I looked him in the eyes, I noticed blood was dripping down the entire side of his face. Despite his affirmative head nod that he was OK, waving his cell phone in his hand, and probably the countless cyclists who had breezed past him on their way down to Blackpoint today, some who perhaps also asked him if he was OK and figured he was fine (he had a cell phone after all), we stopped our bikes to see what we could do to help him, if anything.

We quickly discovered that his name was Kim and that he lived in Brickell and that he was planning on riding back home. Kim told us that he didn’t remember what happened, but from the looks of it – bloodied and scraped face and helmet, blood dripping down both knees, and the back of his jersey actually scraped up near his shoulder – clearly he had taken a bad spill somewhere, somehow. In the course of the next few minutes, Kim asked us, as he pointed at his face, “Is it pretty bad? My face – it’s scratched up?” We answered, “Yes it looks pretty bad. We’re going to call an ambulance or 911 for you.” He then asked us, “Did you see what happened?” We said, “No, we didn’t. We just saw you here on the corner and stopped to see if you were OK.” Thirty seconds later, Kim asked us again, as he pointed at his face, “Is it pretty bad? My face – it’s scratched up?”…..

Kim had no idea what had happened to him and was clearly exhibiting serious short-term memory loss. He asked us these same questions probably 15 times over the course of the next few minutes until Fire Rescue arrived. He also couldn’t remember the passcode to get into his cell phone to call for help. He didn’t know the date nor the month. He didn’t know if he had been riding alone, or with a group. He likely had a concussion and who knows what other physical injuries he had sustained.

Thankfully, after we called 911, a Pinecrest policeman showed up and soon thereafter, Fire Rescue arrived. We filled them in on what we knew. We wished Kim well as they drove him and his bike off to the hospital.

Had we not stopped to REALLY MAKE SURE he was OK, who knows what would have happened to him? This is my urgent plea to ALL CYCLISTS – male and female – please please please take an extra second to slow down and really make sure that someone is OK when you encounter a cyclist on the side of the road during your training rides. They may say they are OK or wave you on – but please just take that extra moment to stop and affirm for yourself that the person is OK before riding on. You may just save someone.

Ride on and be safe out there…


p.s. Here’s a quick primer on signs & symptoms of concussion.

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