BLACK MONDAY.

Jim and I left friends in Sixes, Oregon and hopped back onto 101. The winding, twisting highway I remembered from years past has been straightened and widened.  The old road was dangerous, narrow, and complicated by hills, blind bends and heavily laden logging trucks with few pullouts. The new road is an officially designated scenic highway. In some places it diverts you, if you choose to go, to the old road near specific  scenic spots.  The new road has a bike lane with signs to watch for bicyclers.  The weather was gray but the day was black as two girls riding bikes were hit by a car seconds before we came on the scene. It is elk area and I thought  I saw an elk carcass on the road.

People were bailing out of their vehicles to see what they could do to help.  One girl was visible on the road where she flew on impact I’m guessing 30 feet to the left.  The guy from the motor home in front of us,  found the second girl over the embankment in the tall grass. The girls both appeared to be dead, both unmoving not visibly breathing.

One woman in pink claimed to know first aid. She found a pulse and held her jaw up to make sure her breathing passages would remain straight, she explained. The girls jaw was white, her teeth clenched tight. I dug through the girls pack looking for  blankets since they both carried large back packs. What little I remembered of my own first aid was not to move anyone and to cover the person to help prevent shock.  I couldn’t find a blanket in their packs, but put a set of heavy sweats on the girls bare skin. Another guy, I think from the car that hit her brought a blanket for each girl. Jim was looking to find a mile marker to identify our position.

This man found a pulse on this girl who was curled into a fetal position and also unconscious.  She had a serious gash on her leg. We had immediately checked to see if emergency services were contacted and the truck driver traveling north and the motor home in front of us had both called and given positions, though no mile markers were in sight. The girl in the street finally responded, opened her eyes in a blank unseeing stare. The woman in pink kept asking her if she was all right, could she hear.  After what seemed like many minutes, she began taking visible deep breaths and moaning. I couldn’t control my emotions and began to cry.

This  bike was crushed. You can see the wheel marks and gravel where the driver braked.  It is hard to tell how and why he hit them. Both girls were close together as there were two deep indentations in the safety glass were the two girls hit the windshield at the same time, one on the driver’s side, one on the passenger side.  This bike belonged to the girl in the grass.

The amount of damage done to these bikes reminded me that my youngest daughter has ridden her bike during commute hours from Davis to Sacramento literally putting over a thousand miles on her bike and I shuddered and couldn’t keep from shaking and lapsing into tears after we got into the motor home to leave. I couldn’t get over the devastation, how the impact removed one shoe from each girl’s feet;  the blank stare from this girl’s beautiful blue eyes, the swelling on her leg pushing one leg higher off the ground than the other as we watched. It was horrific and left me dazed and weak.  The girl over the edge never regained consciousness while we were there.

It seemed way too long before emergency services arrived.  People on the road took charge and helped direct traffic around to get the first responders through to the girls. So brutal. As Jim and I talked about it, we realized that on the highways in every country of the world, a similar scene takes place many times a day. It just seems so incomprehensible.  We felt such deep sadness for these young girls, the drivers too,  who will live with this accident the rest of their lives. All of their families are affected. The words, please drive safely seem so inadequate to the consequences.

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19 thoughts on “BLACK MONDAY.

  1. Pingback: Facing a creative conundrum, and the Feed | Witch on a Bicycle

  2. Thank you for stopping to help. What a terrible thing.

  3. steven

    Thank you so much for your help and kind words. I know this was hard for you to stumble upon. Ridden this road a lot , and I hate to hear about this. peace.

  4. All so sad: all we can do is hold them in our thoughts and hope for the very best of recoveries for all involved.

  5. jeff

    Thank you for this report, for your concern, and your compassion.

  6. Saw the link to your blog on bikeportland.org

    Thank you for your compassion and concern for two fellow cyclists and for sharing what you saw.

  7. Greg

    Mary,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and compassion.

    On bikeportland, you said you couldn’t make out the license plate on the truck. To me it looks like I CCO 221. Also, the logo on the door of the truck is for Columbia Distributing – http://www.coldist.com/

  8. On behalf of all involed I am struck with pain and sorrow over this accident. I know my dad is feeling the pain of this as well as the two women involved.And i am verry sorry for all.

  9. Cathyn

    As a daily bike commuter I really appreciate your compassion and concern for these youndg women. The fact that you gathered so much information and photo documentation should assist them in determining what actually happened. I am reminded daily how hard it is to stay safe on a bicycle when your companions on the streets are driving steel vehicles that weigh tons. Just this morning on my way to work I rode right next to a man driving 40MPH on Naito Pky reading his text messages and looking down the whole time…

  10. 2gadabout

    It has been proved that texting killed people when a train engineer wasn’t paying attention. It makes sense to me to take a license number and report the texter. Of course, easier said than done, eh?
    We all have to be defensive drivers, bikers. Thanks for stopping by.
    Mary

  11. Vincent White

    I was there the day this happend, I am reminded daily how irresponsible drivers are and how inatentive you can get. My heart is always going to be with theses two girls. And I pray I never Have to witness something like this again. I drive a truck and see people all the time texting as the drive. The only thing I can say to that, is don’t do it.

    • 2gadabout

      I’m from California and it is against the law to text while driving. I see dozens of people doing it anyway. Still, I’m glad the law is there and some people do actually stop and make their calls or text. Law abiding people help. Some would text if the law didn’t forbid it. And, being there was a shaky experience for me. I’ll never forget it and think of them whenever I see bicyclers. It still haunts me sometimes.

  12. Very Sad Day….Everyon that travel on the 101,should just keep your eyes open to bikes. they are out there…..

  13. 2gadabout

    I’ve kept in touch with the two girls and there has still been no resolution to the case as far as I know. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Grop50

      Hello Mary,
      Your pictures and the blog of this event is helpful to understand what has happen that day.
      I went the fourth day of the accident to the site and took pictures of the yellow markings made by the investigators, and no doubt the driver hit the 2 girls on the shoulder. The marking show the driver came out of the road at 3 feet behind the first bike, continued to drive on the shoulder, run over mile marker post, and hit the second bike at 200 feet away and he stop only at approximately 350 feet from the first bike. That is unbelievable, seems to me is intend.
      This driver has something against bicyclists.

      • 2gadabout

        The event upset me for months. I do know that a trial was scheduled but I do not know what the result was/will be. These things take unreasonable amounts of time. When I hear, I’ll post it if the two girls are comfortable with that. I think the officers who saw made the measurements came to the same conclusion as you did. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Pingback: Man receives jail time, assault conviction for Highway 101 collision | Bicycle News

  15. Nabbali

    Mr. D.A Dial “ THE SHOULDER AND THE ROAD IS VERY NARROW IN THAT SPOT” wrong statement , we went to the scene of the accident and took pictures of all the markings, pick-up items of my daughter left by the police (Thermos, shoe, towel, mug )
    We did park our vehicle on the shoulder, no interference to the traffic. D.A Dial that is not a tragedy is an Idiot driving a car under the influence of drugs, and by the way do you think hitting someone at 20mph will hurt less than at 55 mph. I will love to hear you giving the same statement if it was your daughter who was laying in the ditch.
    Pushing my daughter in a wheel chair, and seen her going up the stairs of our home on her bum is hard, very hard. My daughter Essya is an accomplish athlete, (Asia , south America, Africa and Europe ) clamp it , hike it bike it and run it all. Please don’t excuse what has happen by calling it tragedy. Take the idiots out of the roads, and highways, that what you are pay it for.
    Read the post of my wife Elizabeth on BIKEPORTLAND NEWS(Man receives jail time, assault conviction for Highway 101 collision | Bicycle News ).
    To Lawson the driver I saw how you look in the court room, I DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR YOU, AND COOS BAY WHERE YOU LEAVE WILL BE A BETTER PLACE WITHOUT YOU IN IT.

    • 2gadabout

      Thank you Mr. Nabbali for a true perspective of what happens when families are shattered by another’s carelessness.

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