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Scree - January 29, 2011

Sign along the Parkway

I Thought It Was a Sign

From an incident report from the Natchez Trace Parkway National Park:

"Rob Bowers of Flemingsburg, Kentucky, was bicycling on the parkway south of Tupelo on December 22nd when he was struck by a pickup truck that left the scene. Bowers was taken to a hospital with a concussion, broken collar bone, compressed vertebrae, and a sprained ankle. Rangers interviewed a number of witnesses, and, while documenting the incident, found a side view mirror which appeared to be from the truck. Rangers Jeff Penney and John Hearne identified the mirror from a parts number as belonging to a Dodge Dakota pickup. On January 5th, at the suggestion of staff at a Dodge dealership, Penney spoke with the manager of the South Gloucester Body Shop, who said that his shop had put a new right side view mirror on a 2004 Dodge Dakota pickup on December 27th. The manager of the body shop identified the customer as Hugh Cobb, 90, of Tupelo, Mississippi. Penney interviewed Cobb on several occasions, and Cobb eventually admitted to driving in the area of the incident, striking an object (which he had thought was a sign) in the area of the incident, and admitting that the parts the rangers found were most likely from his truck. A criminal complaint has been filed in the Northern District of Mississippi for unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, failure to report a motor vehicle accident, and violating the safe passing distance when passing a bicyclist."

(NPS Daily Headlines)

This incident helps explain some of the problems associated with bicycling. The driver of the truck hit the bicyclist and thought he had hit a sign! I believe the driver. He probably did think he hit a sign but that does not make the incident an accident.

Drivers sit in their mobile boxes of steel and glass and wonder why bicyclist want such laws as the 'three foot" passing law. If a driver hits a bicyclists, the collision will hurt or kill the bicyclist but might not even damage the vehicle. A simple brush of a mirror can send a bicylist hurtling to the pavement. Riders are unprotected from the consequences of a collision and often time by the law. (This week in Wyoming the "three foot" law did not pass). The driver in a collision with a bicycle will claim the incident as being an accident. I am sure that no one intends to run over bicyclists; but often times they do not slow down or give adequate space in passing. The drivers actions do not show prevention. Drivers, please, give us a brake.

On the highways and interstates around the country, signs are posted near construction zones warning motorists of workers. Safety programs have been placed into effect with warning signs and even warnings of the consequences of hitting a worker. Perhaps the same type of program would be effective for bicyclist and pedestrians...

Drivers, your vehicles are loaded weapons to bicyclists, pedestrians, and road workers; please don't point your vehicles at us!

Hats off to the Rangers who spent the time to investigate the collision and we hope the rider recovers.

Lonnie Dupre - Polar Explorer, Again

He is down, off the mountain. Yeah.

I just can't believe he lived at 17,200 feet for 6 days in a six foot by three foot trench with 100 mph winds and -50 degree temperatures. His survival was a superhuman feat. Maybe he could be a super hero, "Polar Man", able to withstand sub zero temperatures, live in cramped quarters, stand in 100 mph winds, etc...

I am just glad he is down and alive. Can't wait for the book.