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

Not your normal Sunday training ride (Part II.)

17 Apr Blog | Comments

As promised, there is a second part to my previous blog post about that fateful Sunday bike ride with my training buddies a few weeks ago.

On the second half of that day’s easy ride, on our way back to town, I witnessed yet another road safety incident that landed one of my best friends, Julie, in the emergency room. We were riding in a 5-person single-file paceline maintaining an easy, steady clip along Red Road in South Miami when an approaching car driver chose not to stop at a Stop sign that intersected with the road on which we were riding. This caused our front rider to call out, “Car up – this guy’s not stopping! [I’m] slowing!” We all seized up, slow pedaled and feathered our brakes to avoid a collision with each other and with the car ahead whose driver couldn’t bear the thought of waiting an extra 4 seconds to stop at the Stop sign and allow the group of 5 of us cyclists to continue down the road with the right-of-way (which we had).

The next thing I knew, Julie was air-born as she flipped over her handlebars and landed in the middle of the road with opposing traffic coming toward us and cars lined up behind us. Thankfully, the motor vehicle traffic stopped at that point and we were able to quickly clear Julie, her bike, and ourselves to the side of the road, as we called 911. South Miami Fire Rescue was there within what seemed like 60 seconds. Julie was on her back and her shoulder bone was sticking up & out. As scary as it was, especially after what we’d experienced earlier in our ride that day, all I could think of was remaining calm and trying not to alarm Julie. I wanted her to stay as stable as possible and to not get freaked out.  Unfortunately, she did dislocate her shoulder that day and it required open, invasive surgery to repair. Her early triathlon season goals and races had to be cancelled, which included her first-ever Ironman race which will now have to be postponed most likely until next year. Despite having already paid hundreds of dollars for her early season races, Julie must now miss out as she continues down the long and painful road to recovery.

Now friends – please – if there’s nothing else that you take away from this, please let it be that when you are behind the wheel, you will respect all road users – including and especiallyvulnerable road users, like bicyclists and pedestrians. We don’t have a massive shield of metal surrounding and protecting us while we’re out there cycling on the roads (which we are all entitled to use). We are truly vulnerable out there. Please understand that we’re not trying to ruin your day by making you wait an extra 4 seconds to pass us (safely at a 3-foot distance). We just want to be able to respectfully share the roads. Trust me, you never want to have to see the intense pain in your dear friend’s eyes as she winces from the mere act of trying to put on a jacket.

And to my cyclist friends… please respect traffic laws and remember that if we want motor vehicle drivers to respect our rights, we must obey the law as well. It only takes one cyclist setting a bad example on the roadways to ruin it for the rest of us.  Let’s lead by example and maybe one day, bikes and cars will co-exist in a world of harmony. Call me a dreamer, but I believe that Americans can one day be like the Dutch – who live in a society where they aren’t dependent on oil and most trips to the store that are 10 miles or less are done by bicycle – because it just makes sense.


Ride on and stay safe, everybody.


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