Let’s Be Careful Out There!

Since Christmas, I’ve bicycled three days in a row. All three days have enjoyed highs around fifty, so it wasn’t all that hard to get out. Today, I got Anne out on the bike too. With today’s ride Anne has 1,500 miles for the year. A cold front is coming through tonight, so this quite enjoyable balmy weather will be coming to a screeching halt soon.

As befits such fine weather, Forest Park was crowded. Anne has been accident free this year, but we saw two other women who weren’t quite so lucky. The first, an elderly woman was sitting on the ground when we came upon her. She seemed in good spirits and there were plenty of people around her. I think that she might have been bowled over by a pair of dogs just before we arrived on the scene. We later saw her walking, so I guess that she was alright. The second woman was a bicyclist. Anne had stopped to answer her phone and seeing this woman, I rode on. I asked her husband, if they needed any help, but he said no. I noticed that she was holding a towel to her face and Anne noticed road-rash about her eye. A tenth-of-a-mile later the descending Doppler of a passing siren marked the arrival of her ambulance. She sat only a quarter-mile from Barnes Hospital’s emergency room, but when you can’t walk, a quarter-mile can be a very long way. She also sat within fifty yards of where over ten years ago, I had collided with an old man. He broke his hip. I didn’t have a scratch. He was carted that last quarter-mile too.

Riding down Skinker, we were passed going the other way by thirty motorcyclists. They were on the road and we were on the bike path. They started doing wheelies as they passed us. I caught three of them in one shot above, but it is not that good a picture. If you look closely down the bike path, first you see Anne and then just beyond her is a guy standing in the path taking pictures. Anne asked him to move off the pathway and he obliged.

As I write about all of this minor mayhem and bad behavior what weighs most heavily on my mind was the sight that I saw last Thursday on the highway. I was taking Dave’s car to the Toyota dealership to have not one, not two, but three safety recalls addressed. Apparently, the air bags, seat-belts and driver side door latch can all malfunction. I was headed north on 170 as I normally go to work, when I encountered a traffic jam. It was accident related. A Direct-TV van had rear ended a semi. The van had slid under the back-end of the trailer. The front windshield was crushed and it looked like the driver side door had exploded. I later realized that a Jaws of Life tool had ripped open that hole. There was nobody visible in the van, no body. Later, the news confirmed the fatality. “Let’s be careful out there!”

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