Witnessed my first bicycle-car collision. I’ve seen a handful of solo bicycle crashes but never a van on bicycle (way back in college I was the guy on the bike so technically I’m not sure I was a witness (Old Guy post 2/10/2010)). I pulled over to assist. Fortunately there was an off-duty Life Flight medic who also saw the mishap and began first aid before the ambulance arrived. The rider was alive and conscious but in a lot of pain with a nasty looking ankle. Fire and ambulance arrived in short order despite the snarled traffic. I took possession of the guy’s bike and left my number with the EMTs. The bike seemed fine and when I told the victim he chuckled a bit and asked my name.
The mishap happened at the 360 overpass at 183 in north Austin near the Arboretum. The van was sitting in the far left lane facing east. The cyclist came from the right side on the bicycle path traveling south to north. There was a substantial thundershower in progress at the time and the signal light was in flashing red mode due to lightning strike/power disruption. This meant the intersection was now under 4 way stop rules.
I was sitting two lanes to the right of the van and one row back. The interaction at the intersection was chaotic with a lot of hesitation and ambiguity about whose turn it was to go. Watching the sequence carefully I perceived that it was the row of cars ahead of me turn to go through the crossing. Two cars in the right lanes held steady as the cyclist entered the cross walk. A pickup truck and the van started out just as the cyclist crossed in front of them. The pickup was able to stop. The van did not and hit the cyclist broadside. It was a slow speed collision but the cyclist was dragged through the intersection.
When the cyclist entered the cross walk the little voice that has kept me alive over these many years starting screaming. I could sense that it was a bad move and that he had unknowingly injected himself into the sequence when it was not his turn to proceed. Can’t say why but I wonder if he noticed the signal lights or had any awareness that things were not normal. I also can’t say how long he was on the island or if he came to a complete stop before proceeding. I didn’t see him until his front wheel was adjacent the signal pole. I won’t go as far to say that he contributed to the mishap but…
I hope he’s ok.