The last 24 hours have been upsetting, terrifying, shocking, anger-inducing, and all kinds of other descriptors I’m too tired to list. Late yesterday afternoon, my husband Jim was riding his bike down a country road in west Knoxville, Tennessee when he was hit by some kind of vehicle.
We’re not sure if it was a car or a truck because whomever hit him just kept on driving. They kept on driving.
He or she drove off, leaving my husband on the side of the road. He was unresponsive when someone else happened to drive by and notice him lying there. That someone happened to be the pilot of one of those Angel Flight helicopters, just driving into town for his shift. He started caring for Jim and sometime in there another Good Samaritan named Allan stopped to assist while they waited for the ambulance.
Allan was the one who was on the other end of the most terrifying call I’ve ever answered, telling me that Jim was hurt and the ambulance was on its way. Being in Chicago I have never felt so helpless in my life. I put my sister, who’s in Knoxville, in touch with him so she could get the logistics and I commenced hand-wringing as she and my parents met Jim’s parents at the hospital. I took the first flight out this morning to get to his side.
Jim has a concussion and he’s going to be fine, eventually. We are so lucky. BEYOND lucky. It’s miraculous, really, and there’s one thing kept this story from having a very different ending: his helmet. Thank goodness, Jim has always been a stickler for bike safety. We ALWAYS wear helmets, no excuses. If he hadn’t been wearing his helmet today, I can’t even type out what I might have been doing instead of writing this blog post, and I’m thankful. BEYOND thankful.
His eventual complete physical healing (yay) aside, it’s going to take a long time for us to get over this emotionally and mentally. I am so angry right now. How could someone hit another person with their vehicle and keep going? (I know there is a chance that the person was intoxicated, of course.) The idea of my husband’s body sprawled out on the side of the road is something that will haunt me for ages.
So that helmet. Let’s talk about it. Do you wear a helmet when you ride your bike? Do you make your kids wear one? I have seen way too many adults and children ride sans helmets and I never understood that, but now that I have personal experience with the protection a helmet provides, I understand neglecting to wear one even less. PLEASE take safety precautions seriously: wear a helmet and make your kids wear helmets too.
Let’s talk about something else that Jim was wearing that helped us out a whole lot today: an ID necklace. His happens to be made by Crashtag but there are all different brands out there. (This is not sponsored!)
Jim’s Crashtag has his ICE (in case of emergency) numbers on it, his blood type, allergies, birthdate, and of course his name and city. Because he was wearing this necklace, Allan was able to quickly find my number and give me a call. If you are a cyclist or a runner or someone who participates in any other sport that takes you away from people you know, you need to have something on your person that can help a bystander identify you and, when necessary, reach out to loved ones.
Of course, the phone is still a good option. Make sure you put ICE numbers in so that a rescuer can find them. (In my phone, Jim is listed under ICE.) If you have an iPhone, you can also open up your Health app and set up emergency information so that, if you lock your phone, a rescuer can click “emergency” on the lock screen and make a phone call to your primary emergency contact.
I cannot express how important it is that you take a few minutes to set yourself up with safety measures. Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. Even you. Or you. Or him. Or her. Or them. ANYONE, ANYWHERE. Please be safe. Your loved ones will appreciate it.