Sunday, August 7, 2011

Man down (unedited)

It was an unusual day on the bikeways of Minneapolis.

I was bicycling with Margaret today. We were on a Minneapolis bike trail when I heard a thud behind me. A guy, older than me, hit the pavement. Hard.

I sensed he was trying to get past us as soon as possible, as he seemed to be right behind me. We were approaching a stoplight and had a green light, so we proceeded across the street. It seems that as the guy rode up the curb cut onto the trail he lost his balance somehow. Thud, he hit the pavement hard. I knew that sound the instant I heard it.

I stopped, grabbed my phone and walked toward him. Somebody behind him had stopped to check on him. I asked if he was hurt, he said he was, still lying on the ground. I called 911 to report a single-bicycle accident. As I called 911 the operator asked what kind of injuries he had. As I asked Margaret and the other guy I learned it wasn't a head or neck injury, but he indicated he had pain in his ribs. The guy was wearing a helmet, but riding shirtless. He scraped a few parts of his body and is going to have serious road rash on one shoulder.

The guy slowly sat up, then got onto one knee. He called somebody to report his accident. It took an ambulance about five minutes to get to the intersection where we were. The three paramedics in the ambulance didn't sense it was a serious injury as they took their time getting out of the ambulance and approaching us. At that point Margaret and I went on our way.

That wasn't my last 911 call of the day. Eighteen minutes after I called 911 to report the injury I was calling 911 again. Margaret and I had been back on our bikes less than 15 minutes when we approached a biker down on the trail. We didn't see him fall, but two people had stopped to check him out. The guy and his bike were still on the ground. After a quick inquiry regarding an injury I was calling 911 again.

A different ambulance crew arrived. This guy, who wasn't wearing a helmet, slowly got up. We had to convince him to sit down on a nearby bench and take it easy until an ambulance arrived. He was surprised to learn he crashed, as he didn't remember it. Margaret said he kept repeating the fact that he was surprised that he crashed.

When the ambulance arrived we departed yet again, thankfully not to be making a third 911 call for the day.

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