Bike-Force Trauma

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Post recently received the following letter to the editor from Mark Rubin of Chevy Chase. Less than a week later the newspaper received the second letter, from Jamie Ratner of Bethesda.


Ihit the Capital Crescent Trail after work today. It was crowded in both directions with walkers, runners, cyclists and rollerbladers.

I had been jockeying for position with a fellow cyclist when I approached a score of cyclists and pedestrians in a semicircle, all looking down. My eyes followed their horror. A petite woman was face down on the pavement, with a pool of blood just inches from her head. She apparently had been hit by a cyclist.

My worst fear was that she was unconscious and bleeding out of her ear, almost a sure sign of serious head trauma. It turned out she was awake. I checked out her head wound and saw that she was bleeding from the side of her head. She complained of slightly blurred vision.

I suggested that she slowly move to the side of the road, but competing "doctors" in the crowd thought it wrong that she move. (Better that she get run over?) She was upset, but I'm betting she'll be okay.

Before I left the scene, the cyclist who hit her noted that he had given warning before passing, and a witness verified that. The victim was wearing earphones and probably did not hear him. Can you relate?

I can't help but wonder why traffic management is not a higher priority on the trail.

The only rule I have ever seen is to warn before passing. Here are a few more that should be added to the list: Everyone must walk, run, cycle, etc., single file. Running clubs in particular must adhere to the single-file rule. No headphones permitted (sorry, but they obstruct hearing). Widen the trail; it's only eight to 10 feet side to side. Repair the extensive root damage just below Fletcher's Boat House. Clean up the loose gravel at the base of the bridge that crosses River Road.

-- Mark Rubin

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