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Archives September 2016

Hello: My Name is Mighk

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mighk1Hi, my name is Mighk Wilson and I am 56. I have a beautiful wife Carol and a 9-month-old Lab/Whippet mix named Marely. I went to school at Ringling School of Art & Design (1982) and Rollins College (2008). I am a Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner for MetroPlan Orlando, and in my spare time executive director of the American Bicycling Education Association. My wife and I share a 2002 Subaru Outback with 75,000 miles on it. (So you can see we don’t drive it much.) We consider it to be our most expensive cycling accessory. When I am not cycling I like to garden.

mighk3I ride because it’s a habit I don’t want to break. The thing I love about Cycling is that it’s fast enough to see the forest, but slow enough to see the trees. When asked about the repercussions of being hit by a car that could affect my life: Since cycling is such a safe activity I don’t dwell on that aspect much. And no, I’m not being facetious or sarcastic. Cycling is quite safe. But our culture insists on first, telling everyone it’s dangerous, and then second, telling people to ride in ways that both make it feel dangerous (riding on the edge of the road) and actually increase the risk (“Get on the sidewalk!” “Get on that white line!”). Also when asked Knowing the risk why you continue riding: Knowing what I know is why I worked with Keri Caffrey to develop the Cycling Savvy course and helped start American Bicycling Education Association.

Teaching people to ride properly is more about breaking bad habits and busting harmful myths than about things like “awareness” or admonishing people to “be careful.” All around me every day I see people cycling who are doing things that increase their risk, and I’m sure most of them think they are “being careful.”

mighk2Cycling safely does not depend on being fast or “aggressive;” it’s a result of understanding how crashes really happen and learning some smart strategies to get motorists to do what you want them to do.

Some thing I want motorists to know is when you see me in the center of the lane in front of you, understand I am driving my vehicle in the safest possible manner. Cycling this way I avoid all the most common hazards (like potholes and other surface hazards) and motorist mistakes. I’ve been analyzing official crash reports for 20 years, and I’ve found that far more motorist-at-fault crashes happen to bicyclists on sidewalks and bike lanes than to cyclists in regular travel lanes.

Oh, and I’ll be out of your way — or you’ll be able to pass me — in no more than half a minute, so relax.

#himynameis #orlando #florida #floridadepartmentoftranspertaion #floridaofmotorvehcles #carofchoice #stature316 #floridabicyclelaw #3ft #fox35 #channel9 #orlandosentinel #orlandoweekly #health #fitness #trafficlivesmatter #cyclinglivesmatter

Hello, My Name is Rocco

rocco-and-wifeMy name is Rocco Monaco and I’m a local rider here in the Orlando area. On May 29 of this year I was struck from behind by a vehicle moving at an estimated rate of over 40 mph on a Sunday morning around 8am on a 4 lane road. On that particular morning I made a last minute decision to do a solo ride instead of the usual Sunday morning group ride I normally do.

As I rode east bound on SR 434 just past Hayes road in Winter Springs, I was abruptly struck from behind sending me up in the air and slamming to the ground. It happens so fast I had zero time to respond. In fact, I never even heard the vehicle approaching. As I lay on the ground wondering what just happened to me I desperately tried to gather myself.

I noticed a car mirror lying the road then saw a vehicle braking about 100 feet in front of me. I was dazed, confused but then realized I had been struck by this vehicle. As the driver approached me, I believe the first words that come out of his mouth were swerved in front of me. There was no traffic, no obstacles or debris in the road that would have caused me to swerve out on the road, yet I found myself having to defend myself while I was slowly going into shock.

Fortunately, there was a business (Budget Tree) across the street and the employees came out to help. I asked them to make sure the driver did not leave the scene of the accident and to please contact the Police. The Winter Springs Police department and emergency response were there within minutes. I did the usual body check looking for broken collarbones and other injuries.

rocco-and-wife-in-kitWe who cycle tend to have a good pain threshold and my first inclination was to get back on the bike and head back home. But as I used a street sign to get back up to me feet, I immediately realized my bike was damage and my body hurt all over. Fortunately for me, I never hit my head but sustained injuries to by ankle, knee, back and of course my rear end.

The Police officers and emergency responds team were extremely helpful and I’m grateful for their assistance. The gentlemen from budget tree were really lifesavers that morning and I can’t thank them enough. The Driver did apologize to me. I can’t be too mad; he was on his way to church.

After they got me stabilized, I called my wife Carol and explained to her what had happened and ask her to come and pick me up not totally realizing how bad I was really hurt. As I waited for her, the adrenaline was wearing off and the real pain was setting in. As she arrived we got the bike I the car and she pretty much had to put in the passenger seat as well as take me out when we got back to or home. She literally put me in the shower, sat me in a chair and helped clean the road grime and blood off of me.

At that time, we realized I there was significant bruising on both sides of my rear end and back. We went to the hospital and spent the next five hours being treated and X-rayed. As the weeks went by additional injuries began to present themselves and 4 months later, I’m still dealing with the injuries. The injuries sustained were a torn ligament and fracture to my left ankle, torn meniscus to my left knee, herniated discs in my lower lumber region and acute sciatica. There was also severe bruising, cuts and a large hematoma to my right side. I have had x rays. MRI’s, visits to the podiatrist, orthopedic specialists, Neurosurgeon. I’ve have been to the pain clinic for epidurals in my back and have had chiropractic adjustments twice a week since June not to mention the numerous visits to my attorney. I still require surgery on my knee and possibly my back.

group-rideI have lived in pain and discomfort 24-7 since the accident. I can’t even remember when I’ve had a full night’s sleep. Running around town for all these medical appointments is like having a full time job some days. This has affected every aspect of mine and my wife’s life. The simple act of sitting, standing walking, getting dressed, is a daily painful experience. The sciatic nerve pain is constant and is so acute at times it brings me to my knees. I can sit for about 30 minutes at my desk before have to get up to stretch. Driving my car for work or sitting on a flight becomes a major issue due to the sciatic nerve and bruising.

And yes, there’s still internal bruising even after four months. Anyone who knows me would tell you I don’t take medications but Pain Killers, muscle relaxers and Ibuprofen have become part of my pain management.

It’s very possible there may be long term issues that I may have to deal with. I never would have imagined I’d still be dealing with the injuries months later. I often think about the driver who struck me. He received a moving violation and got to drive away that morning. I got to look at my $9,500 bike that was no longer any good while I nursed a bunch of injuries.

We have huge problem in Florida and I’m sure other areas of the country as well. Orlando is growing and the riding areas are slowly being squeezed out. For us roadies, we stick to the road for the most part. The trails are a great addition and have their place but there is always the danger of families with children and pets. We try and respect their safety. Vehicle drivers complain and tell us to ride on the sidewalk. That’s a recipe for disaster. There is no easy solution but it’s important the masses understand that there are laws that protect the riders and whether you agree or not, it is the law! And certainly the riders aren’t always angels out there but like me, these are individuals have families and careers. They’re not a bunch of renegades on a mission to take over the roads. We have been struck by vehicles, run off the road, yelled at, spit at, have had water bottle thrown at us. The list goes on.

We’re just trying to make from point A to point B and get home in one piece. A 16 lbs. bike VS a 3000-pound vehicle. Not much contest there.

Eventually I’ll be back on the bike and hammering down the road again, but will forever have the thought of what may be coming up behind me and just a little fear every time I get on the bike.

rocco-and-wife-mountainsWhy would I get back out there and take a chance again? It’s simple: I absolutely love the sport. It’s in my blood and I’ve been doing it for years. I can’t imagine what life would be without it. I enjoy the camaraderie and have made great friends who are like a second family. Riding is a great way to see the world and is wonderful exercise for the mind and body. It never gets old and I’d like to think I have several years of pedaling left in me. I certainly hope there can be a mutual respect and understanding between the drivers and riders, while Orlando and the rest of Central Florida works on improving the infrastructure for cyclists. The sport is always growing and more riders will take to the roads.

As someone who’s become a victim of a car related accident, I would ask vehicle drivers to proceed with extra caution and please understand that like you, we have families we’re trying to get home to and jobs to go back to. If you take what I’m saying lightly, you might try getting on a bike and going out into traffic. You may actually get a rude awakening of what we go through on pretty much regular basis.

state trooper

Hello, my name is Mark

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state trooperI’m a transportation safety & crash investigator for the USDOT. I was a State Trooper for 10 years and I know what State Statute 316 has to say about cyclists sharing the road.

I have two sons, 10 & 15 who are cycling enthusiasts.

When I’m not on the bike I’m doing what single dads do best: laundry and homework. Non-bike weekends mean kayaking, camping, or going to the beach. My goals for the next year are to buy my own home and get in better shape.

familyI love riding because is it’s a great way to see a town, get good exercise, and once you buy a bike, the rest is free.

I know the risks of cycling, and my 15yr old has first-hand experience with the business end of an inattentive driver’s sedan. Fortunately he was uninjured. The closest I’ve come is getting buzzed by a BMW in Fort Lauderdale. No argument from me at the next light, however, I’d rather not get shot.

trailI do my best to stay out of a motorist’s way for two reasons:

  1. Sharing the road also means ME giving cars room to get by and
  2. no one will want to read Statute 316 at my funeral.

Some people ask, “Why don’t I just ride sidewalks instead?” Several reasons:

  • Traffic doesn’t have to stop at a sidewalk crossing, so I’m more likely to get hit.
  • People and pets use sidewalks. Kind of hard to pass them and walkers don’t like that.
  • Sidewalks are rough as hell and usually slippery with mud, mold, leaves and sticks.
  • Most unknown fact about sidewalks: In many cities it’s illegal (Orlando for instance.)
  • Orlando allows bikes on some sidewalks, but it must be marked.
  • Also, sidewalks that do allow cyclists have speed limits.
  • Orlando allows 12mph. Orange County allows 15mph on trails and “multi-use” sidewalks.

kid-carFlorida statute 316.2065 says I have the right to ride on the road. With that being said, I will not hide behind a law that you may disagree with because it won’t prevent me from getting run over. I will do my part to stay out of your way because I will not win.

In the end, motorists and cyclists alike should:

  • Read the statute.
  • Be vigilant.
  • Respect one another.

… and when you witness “an infraction”, cool your jets. No one follows the law to a tee: rolling through stop signs, failing to use turn signals, speeding, etc. Don’t flip your stuff when a bicycle rolls through an intersection and I won’t yell at you when you forget to signal.

Mark is a member of our USA Cycling club. We thank him for his lesson in “mutual respect.”

Mark Audette, State Trooper and Cyclist

Mark Audette, former State Trooper and Cyclist

Hello, my name is: Gayna

in-hospital-bedCrazy Cyclists. Hardass Speaks.

Gayna Hansen is one of our beloved “KBS Katz, on our team for 3 years now. Ironically, we had pegged her to be one of our “featured riders” the same week she had her accident. The story that follows is hers. We are posting it in its entirety.

On 3/15/16 at 5:30am, I got up to go on my regular training ride like any other day of the week but that time I didn’t come home. I was hit by a car about 5 min from my home. The crash report said my body “flew into the air, made contact with the hood, hit the windshield & came to rest on the pavement.” So many people ask me if it hurt & I honestly did not feel a thing. I woke up on the ground & my first thought was “ah crap.” So many people dear to me flew into action that morning & my crash will always be a trauma to them as well.

group-rideMy name is Gayna Hansen & I’m a 44 year old crazy cyclist that loves pain & still chooses to ride, despite the danger, because this sport & everyone associated with it has given me so much. I’m a Mental Health Therapist who works from home for United Health Care as a specialist on their Autism Care Team. I never lose motivation to train because I love how it makes me feel. Being hit by a car didn’t tarnish that. For me, letting go of something you love for fear of possible death brings on a living one really. So just like a light switch, I turn the fear off. I ride for the camaraderie & friendships, to push my body & mind past limitations, to be an example for my kids, and because I love to eat!

severed-footAt home waiting for me that morning, was my husband Kris who got THE call, my 12 year old daughter Abbi & 9 year old son Alex. To this day, they’re a bit scared about me riding. My whole family & my training partner all dropped what they were doing to help me.

Left: The gruesome results of the car impact severed Gayna’s foot. The doctors managed to reattach it successfuly.

broken-bikeAs a driver, I can say the repercussions of an accident like this are so pervasive for both the victim & driver-emotional, medical, financial, legal, occupational, and more. In an instant of poor focus or impatience everything changes. My foot was pretty much ripped off. I had 3 stitches in my head & I have trauma to my upper back.

Right: The sturdy carbon fiber bike wheel was snapped by the impact.

FullSizeRenderThree months of greatly reduced activity & I’m still struggling to get my power & cardio levels back where they were. Mind you, my recovery was at a God given & supercharged pace. The ankle is still messed up but I make it keep up with me. I’ll do my first race on Labor Day-a 40k TT- with the help & support of my coach Patrick Sansbury & KBS Race Team & of course my family & friends. It will be a true test of my recovery. Left: The impact point of the car.

Today, almost 6 mo after the accident, I still think of it daily.
I ride the same road I got hit on every morning & occasionally I look over my shoulder. I can feel the impact in my ankle with every step & have other lingering issues. “I just didn’t see her,”says the driver. To this, I’m a bit speechless. Although I truly believe, every experience molds us for what’s down the line, the biggies like this do have their losses associated with them. In the OR, I asked if I could still make my race in 3 wks. They laughed at me. The biggest impact was not my ankle, or my bike-although that was super painful, but knowing that my family is scared when I ride and how many family things I have missed in the last few months due to medical issues. Do you know the leprechauns missed our house this year?? Mom was in the trauma unit (wink).

Gayna competed in the 6th Annual Cowbell Classic 40K Time Trial, and set a new personal record.

On Labor Day 2016, Gayna competed in the 6th Annual Cowbell Classic 40K Time Trial, placed 3rd in her division and set a new personal record.

So the next time you’re approaching a cyclist on the road, try to remember that it could be someone you know on that bike. Be aware & give wide clearance. We all have things in life we are passionate about. Let’s work together to make it safer for cyclists to pursue their passion so they return home from every ride.