Coworker struck by car…any news?

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reddan
Keymaster
#

My boss just told me that John Strait (former leader of the Team Decaf rides) was struck by a car on the way to work this AM, and has been hospitalized. This would likely have happened somewhere between Highland Park, Oakland, and the South Side.

Brief Googling turned up nothing for me…anyone else hear anything?


Swalfoort
Participant
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No news, yet. I hope it turns out to be minor. Keep us posted, will you?


salty
Participant
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Definitely hoping he’s ok, that sucks.


scott
Keymaster
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Ugh, hope he’s ok. Sending out good, positive thoughts. By the way, I didn’t hear anything about this on the news this morning.


reddan
Keymaster
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Latest word is a broken femur, no other details.


brian j
Participant
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@scott: Apparently the P-G’s morning breaking news reporter is on holiday, so there isn’t anyone in the press room sitting by the police scanner. I’ve asked a contact there if she could dig up some details, but I haven’t heard anything.


stefb
Participant
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Does he ride a recumbent usually?


John
Participant
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Man, that’s a real bummer. I was just chatting with him on Saturday about his commute.

Yes he’s a recumbent rider.


erok
Keymaster
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:(


chinston
Participant
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On my way downtown from Sq. Hill this morning, I passed a cyclist who was on the ground at the turn from Second Ave. up to the jail trail – in the street, and a few feet off of Second Ave, just before the jail trail underpass. It would have been around 9:15 am. There was an ambulance on the scene. The guy was a bit older, maybe a trimmed white beard? I’m a little hazy on the details – he struck me as an experienced cyclist. I didn’t see his bike – apparently it had already been put in a vehicle.

There was one other cyclist already there when I stopped, although I don’t think they knew each other or were riding with each other. I asked him what happened – he told me that he understood that a car was not involved, but that the down rider had slipped making the turn up that little street to the trail. But I don’t know where he got that info – I know there have been car-bike accidents at that spot before, but it also looked consistent with slipping on wet leaves or the like. He said the down rider probably had a broken leg, which is what it looked like to me. (I’m pretty sure he was conscious, but he was holding very still as the paramedics approached.)

Then I went on my way. That’s pretty much all I remember, but let me know if there’s anything else I could add. Hope that guy, and/or your boss are ok.


reddan
Keymaster
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Sounds like John…right description, right time, right general location. I’m hoping that it was truly a simple accident, and that the “struck by car” stuff was just garbled on its way to my boss’s voicemail.

Thank you very much for the info!


chinston
Participant
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Please let me know when you find out more about his condition and the cause.


reddan
Keymaster
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I haven’t spoken to John myself, but I’m happy to report he’s coherent and healing.

He lost control on a corner…there is some odd damage to the other side of his bike and body that he can’t recall, but doesn’t believe a car was involved. (Prior report of car was apparently due to our mutual superiors getting stories crossed.)

Anywho, he’s got a busted up leg and is missing a few moments of memory, but is otherwise okay.


Swalfoort
Participant
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Whew. Not great that he broke a femur, but very glad to know that it wasn’t any worse.


chinston
Participant
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Unfortunate, but I’m glad to hear he’s on the mend.

I don’t know if leaves contributed to the accident, but it’s worth a reminder to everyone to be careful around this time of the year especially with the present rainy weather. Wet leaves can be as slick as ice, and even if there don’t appear to be leaves on the pavement, they can leave behind a slick coating on the street. I was actually thinking about that just before I came across your friend.


erok
Keymaster
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reddan, where exactly did this happen at?


reddan
Keymaster
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@erok: Second Ave/Jail Trail intersection, if I understand the sitch correctly.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect he was coming from Panther Hollow, turning off Second to get up to the trail.


brian j
Participant
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I’ve gone down in that general vicinity before, in similar conditions (though I fell coming out of the parking lot and going down the hill).

Good to hear John is on the mend.

Keep the rubber side down, as the kids say.


salty
Participant
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Glad to hear he’s relatively ok.

That turn makes me nervous, it’s really sharp thanks to the jersey barrier and the narrowness of the road, and you’ve usually got a lot of speed built up trying to stay out of the way of cars.

Of course, none of that would be necessary if we had a proper trail connection there. I swear I’m going to rent some heavy equipment and “reconfigure” that area late one night. It’s an embarrassment.


Mick
Participant
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@reddean is missing a few moments of memory

Those are not likely to be good memories anyhow.

I’m glad to hear he’s mending.

The femur’s a really big bone, and “breaking a femur” could mean anything from a little crack in the bone to a foot-and-a-half of skeletal fragments floating around. Hope his is minimal.


chinston
Participant
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Reddan is correct as to location. Here. He was not in jersey barrier space (aka the cattle chute), which is totally understandable – I take that corner every morning and rarely take the barriers, although I more commonly do it coming the other way in the evening.


mr marvelous
Participant
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^ I’ve always wondered if there was a way to connect Panther Hollow to the parking lot, to avoid 2nd Ave. I too have almost wiped out because I had built up a lot of speed to avoid cars.


chinston
Participant
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It’s a rotten connection, especially because it’s so heavily used. This very morning, while yesterday’s accident was very much on my mind, I came down Greenfield at speed (30 mph) and as I entered the overpass at the bottom, a car that had been following closely behind me tried to pass me! This is not the first time a car has tried to pass in that space, where not only is there no room for passing (and I was well out in the lane), but everybody (including cyclists) is usually traveling at a good clip, and there’s a very short distance before you make that sharp right at the “right turn keep moving” stop sign. That is a real problem area, and that’s in addition to the location of the accident, which yeah, also has me concerned as I try to signal to traffic behind that I will be slowing and turning, while also watching for UPMC shuttles, etc., coming out from the right.


salty
Participant
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Yes – eliminate one lane of car traffic, push the jersey barriers out, done. It still wouldn’t be perfect but it would be much better than what’s there now.


reddan
Keymaster
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@mick: his femur is positioned more towards the “shattered” end of the spectrum than the “cracked.” Surgery scheduled for today, from what I just heard.

I’ve been thinking about that intersection a lot today too, and I can recall at least a couple of times I’ve nearly wiped out in similar circumstances.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’ve nearly wiped out on that turn, too. I didn’t realize how sharp a turn that is, and ended up jumping the opposite curb. If a car had been coming down that street, I would have been in really deep doo-doo.

I rarely travel that way, maybe 3x ever. With that in mind, I may make a mental note to jump the tracks from the gravel path off Saline rather than deal with that turn. It’s a helluvalot easier to avoid a moving train than a moving car, and there are 10,000x more cars to avoid than trains.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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^^^what Stu said, elderly trailer-dwelling guards be damned


mr marvelous
Participant
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Hop the train tracks how and where do you do that? Didn’t even know there was another way to go. Details?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Saline, just before the intersection with Greenfield/Irvine/Second. (StreetView)


reddan
Keymaster
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@mr marv: If you cut through to the far side of the parking lot next to the trailhead parking, there’s a steep little gravel path on the other side of the RR tracks that’ll take ya right into Junction Hollow.

[ETA:] What Stu said. ^^^


sarah_q
Participant
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Very sorry to read this.

John, I hope you heal quickly and are able to be back on the ‘bent by the time the weather turns nice again.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’ve never run into a guard, but I’m usually going through there after hours, almost always from Jail Trail toward Oakland. Still, this is one of those cases where I will gladly break the rules, because the rules are wrong & need to be changed.

Since I don’t have any medical coverage, if that had been me in this thread, I’d lose my house. That one case I dealt with, I physically collided with the wall after bouncing over the curb, but was unhurt. Not the slightest bit fun, and scary as hell.

Crossing a train track is the same as crossing a street. Look both ways for approaching traffic, don’t run out in front of moving traffic, wait for traffic to clear, and you’re on your way.


helen s
Participant
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I have ridden through there nearly every time I go to work for the past 10+ years. I do not like getting off my bike unless the savings (time, safety)are significant. I always go down to 2nd Ave. and make the right up to get on the trail- traffic is hardly ever a problem as you are going pretty fast, and the turn just means you need to use your brakes. Going back up into Panther Hollow, I always take the bikepath to avoid turning across traffic coming down Greenfield. One of these days I will go down there with a shovel and move all of the gravel that keeps migrating onto the bikepath from people going across the tracks.

Or can I request that those of you who shift gravel onto the path stop and move it for those of us who use it?


Swalfoort
Participant
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funny. When you move the streetview around a little bit, there is a cyclist right at the intersection of the path and the road.


stefb
Participant
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I go really slowly around all corners on a bike All times of the year. Hope he only got a rod in his femur. Did he go to a upmc facility?


reddan
Keymaster
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@stef: I dunno where he is.


chinston
Participant
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Yes, I generally do what helen s does. I’ve tried the route over the tracks once or twice, but if I’m carrying a load of 10-20 pounds in my panniers, it’s too much trouble to get up and down the slope of rocks.


Pseudacris
Participant
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+1 with the well wishes for your colleague, Reddan.

+1 for hating that trail connection.

RE portaging over the tracks…sorry if this is overstating the obvious, but keep in mind that trains absolutely cannot slam on their brakes to any effect. heavy ones can take miles to stop. prepare yourself to ditch your bike and dive out of harm’s way if you did a poor job of checking for oncoming trains…


mr marvelous
Participant
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I’ve come close to getting hit underestimating the speed of a train and the power of my pedals.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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The difference between getting hit by a train and getting hit by a car is the size of the shovel to pick up the pieces. Trains there generally aren’t moving any faster than cars on Liberty Avenue. If I can figure out how to get across a busy two-lane street, I can figure out how to get across train tracks.

But I can appreciate porting a bike with fully loaded panniers. I remember a ride with stefb once when we crossed those tracks, and I helped her carry her bike over.

Or maybe this is just one of those things like carrying bikes up staircases where I do it so often that I don’t appreciate how hard it is for everyone else.

But still, the corner in question is downright dangerous unless you are already quite experienced with it. One mistake or slip, and you’re toast.

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