Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Terrible cycling collision in my area

I wrote this for another blog I run:

Josh Premako has a story I wish I never had to read:
Members of a Valencia church are walking by faith after one of their own was the victim of a hit-and-run while bicycling and wound up in the hospital with major spinal injuries on the holiday weekend.

Kevin Mather, 26, of Saugus, was one of 11 men from Copperhill Community Church who were on a 55-mile bicycle ride Friday morning.

About a quarter-mile north of Le Chene French Cuisine on Sierra Highway, Mather had gotten ahead of the rest of the group.

When Ryan House of Newhall rounded a curve in the road, he saw Mather's yellow bike laying in the middle of the road and cars pulling off on the shoulder.

Mather was sprawled out on the side of the road, bleeding from the head.

The victim's church has already set up a blog where friends and family can read updates on Kevin's condition. Turns out none of Kevin's riding buddies saw Kevin get hit; he was a stronger cyclist than the others and had pedaled far ahead of them. Here's how one friend describes Kevin's condition as he lay bleeding in the street:
I jumped off the bike and saw Kevin lying on the side of the road perpendicular to Sierra Highway with his head in the ditch. There was the entire mirror of a SUV or truck next to him that had broken off the vehicle that hit him. Ryan and one of the motorist were on the phone with police and paramedics. He was lying there by himself and I put my hand on his hand and prayed again for him. He had massive head injuries and it looked like his helmet was the only thing holding the top of his head in place.

So what about the motorist who collided with the cyclist? He allegedly left the scene of the crime, only to return later. The 37 year old man is from Agua Dulce and was driving a Chevy Silverado truck. If the account above is accurate, it sounds like the truck's mirror hit Kevin and fell off.

Now get this: the motorist, Emilio Ramirez, hasn't been arrested. Isn't that outrageous? I thought leaving the scene of a collision (I say collision rather than accident because this was no accident) was a crime; you can't just return later after realizing a part of your truck remained behind at the scene.

What's more, if Kevin's friends' accounts are accurate, Ramirez passed several cyclists on his way up Sierra Highway before he struck Kevin. That should have alerted him to the fact that cyclists were riding on the popular route. He should have been more careful.

The CHP has the investigation so here's hoping they keep us up to date on the status. This man should be punished for what he's done; there is no excuse for leaving the scene of a collision. Cyclists have a right to ride on public roads and it's up to motorists to pass them with at least a few feet of clearance, according to the California Vehicle Code.

I wish Kevin the best and I hope he has a speedy and full recovery.

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