It happened right in front of me.

I left work about 6pm Friday night. A few blocks from the office (Sixth and Portland, if you are familiar with Minneapolis), I was waiting in the right turn lane at a stop light to make a right turn when a car blew past me on my left. It ran the stop light, nearly being t-boned in the process. Just as my mind was registering, That car just ran a stop light! I saw a body fly into the air, roll over the car's roof, and land in the crosswalk across the street from me.

The reckless driver had hit a bicyclist that was crossing on the green light.

I called 911 within 5 seconds and gave the report. Put on my 4-way flashers and ran across the street to get the license number of the car, which had stopped in the middle of the next block. At least it wasn't a hit and run. Gave the license number to the 911 dispatcher.

People gathered around the fallen bicyclist, comforting her and making sure she didn't move. She appeared to be about 30 and was, thankfully, wearing a helmet. But how much protection did that offer her body when it was struck broadside at (probably) 30mph?

She was conscious although not able to talk. A paramedic arrived within a couple minutes, then police, a fire truck, and an ambulance. The latter crew carefully slid her onto a body board, loaded her onto a stretcher, and sped to to Hennepin County Medical Center, a mere two blocks away.

A police officer at the scene took my name, phone numbers, and recorded what I had seen. I left, feeling shaky and horrible. As soon as I could pull over I stopped and called Younger Son, the bicyclist, needing to talk to someone and knowing that he was the one. That poor woman. I keep seeing that body roll over the car and land — thud! — in the street like a broken doll. There may be nightmares tonight.

Life can change so quickly. Hug your loved ones tonight. Drive defensively. Be safe.

ETA: I checked the Twin Cities news sites tonight and didn't find any stories about the accident. I am hoping this means the woman didn't die. Maybe she was only severely bruised. I hope so.


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0 Responses to It happened right in front of me.

  1. Linda says:

    Oh, Kat, what a horrible thing to happen. I pray that young lady is doing ok. You are to be commended for getting out of the car and doing what you could…calling 911 and getting the license number. So many people would stay in their cars, shake their head and drive away. I wonder, did they get the driver that hit her? Wishing you a relaxing, beautiful weekend.

  2. Angie says:

    What a shocking event to witness! Your actions were excellent. I hope the adrenaline has receded by now. Be careful and be easy on yourself today. And you’re so right. Life can change in an instant.

  3. joan says:

    The father of one of Connor’s high school friends was struck by a dump truck and killed while riding to work earlier this summer. He was wearing a helmet, following every precaution for biking safety and it happened anyway. In the newspaper coverage after his death, I was shocked by the accident statistics reported regarding bikes and cars. I’m so sorry that you had to witness this, hasn’t your world had enough stress lately?

  4. tammy says:

    So scary! {{hugs}}

  5. Carole says:

    This is a horrible thing for you to have witnessed and you may have symptoms of post traumatic stress from it. I don’t say that to scare you but just to hope that you will be aware of it and be gentle with yourself.

  6. k says:

    At least she was within blocks of one of the best trauma hospitals around.
    I got broadsided on 6th and Park many years ago, by somebody running the red. I was in a car, thankfully.
    How long till you can get your hands on your kid to give him a hug?

  7. Erika says:

    Ach, so horrible! But you did a great job – they always say the first thing the first person on the scene should do is call 911, but it’s not easy to remember that. Your first impulse is either to sit or stare, or rush out to help… it’s hard to focus on the fact that the most important thing to do is sit there and make a phone call.
    Good work on that – you may have literally saved her life with the speedy call!

  8. =Tamar says:

    Joining the chorus: take care of yourself. Being a witness can be as hard emotionally as being part of the accident.

  9. gayle says:

    It’s so horrifying to see another human being being hurt and be unable to prevent it. Hoping your dreams are gentle and easy.

  10. Vicki says:

    Oh, I hope she will be OK. How scary for everyone! And also my worst nightmare as a cyclist, and the mother of cyclists. I hate being in situations like this where I am helpless in the face of so much need. I’m glad you were able to provide good information as a witness.

  11. Jocelyn says:

    Oh. Sweet. Mother.
    of everything.

  12. Mary Lou says:

    How awful. It is scary out there. It must have been hard to drive home.

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