Three weeks ago, our News & Reviews section led with the article In Iowa, a Cyclist’s Life is Worth About $1,500. It told the story of Shawn Gosch getting hit and killed on a rural highway. The driver only had to pay a small fine because he claimed he didn’t see Shawn.
This piece drew plenty of comments, including one from reader Charlie Johnson, who told the story of a 27-year-old women named Adelaide who crashed into and went through the window of a car that cut her off in Boulder, Colorado. Charlie provided a link to Adelaide’s boyfriend, Kennett’s, poignant blog post about the accident.
The scary coincidence is that Adelaide works with me at SmartEtailing, in our Boulder office. And Kennett used to work there, until he accepted a professional racing opportunity.
On the day after Adelaide’s crash, October 19th, I had just arrived at the Boulder office and was shocked to hear what had happened to Adelaide and Kennett (they had started the ride together). Only weeks before, I’d worked the Interbike Show in Las Vegas with Adelaide. And now, she was in a coma in critical condition and fighting for her life due to a careless driver.
The fact that this happened in Boulder was weird to me. It’s such a bike-friendly place, with separate bike lanes and paths criss-crossing the city, plus wide shoulders sandwiching the major thoroughfares. Bike commuters are everywhere -- and even through the winter.
Then there are the myriad bicycle shops, pro riders, raging cyclocross scene, their famous Valmont Bike Park where last year’s national cyclocross championships were held, and on and on.
It just goes to show that even when so many things are right for safe cycling, all it takes is one dumb move by a driver to change everything.
The best news is that it looks like Adelaide is going to be okay. I saw her last week in Boulder, and she’s walking well and told us (through clenched teeth because she can’t yet move her jaw), that she’s already riding a little indoors on a trainer!
She still has a feeding tube inside because she can’t chew food yet, and she faces more surgeries to repair her injuries and teeth. But, she’s in good spirits and determined to recover fully. Understandably, she’s concerned about regaining her confidence to get out on the open road again. But all 12 cyclists in our Boulder SmartEtailing office are committed to helping her get over that.
I don’t know for sure, but I believe RBR readers have helped Adelaide. After Charlie’s comment appeared in the Newsletter, Kennett’s blog received over 100,000 views. And, Adelaide’s recovery fund rose quickly. It’s now at over $31K of the $50K goal.
The other cool thing that happened is that our company allowed all employees to donate their paid time off to Adelaide to give her additional paid time off for recovery, and she quickly had a surplus that should let her enjoy a long vacation once she’s fully mended.
Plus, thanks to Boulder being such a passionate bicycling community, a silent auction fundraiser was held last night, sponsored by RockyMounts, 45NRTH, Lazer Helmets, Polar Bottles, All-City, Skratch Labs, Jetboil, Borealis and Finkel & Garf.
As cyclists, we may not be able to stop these tragic accidents, but we sure know how to help each other -- and that’s a powerful thing. Thank you, and join me in wishing Adelaide a speedy and full recovery. You can leave comments Adelaide’s blog.
Also, if you want to help make the roads safer for cycling, you can get involved with People for Bikes’ Travel With Care media campaign, and the Bike League’s Bicycle Friendly America program. Look for local opportunities, as well.
Jim Langley has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He's the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check his "cycling aficionado" website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim's streak of consecutive cycling days has reached 7,616.