Park City cyclist hospitalized after crash
"I was riding my bike and I could see through the windshield that she wasn’t looking at me," Park City resident Robin Valline said Friday during a telephone interview from his hospital bed in Salt Lake City. "I had said to myself as I was riding through, ‘She doesn’t see me.’"
The 50-year-old remained hospitalized Friday with several broken bones and injured disks in his back after a driver from Wanship hit him Tuesday while he was riding a bicycle at Quinn’s Junction.
The man was returning to Park City after a ride near Kamas when the 22-year-old woman hit him, added Valline’s wife, Francine.
"She broad-sided him and he smashed the windshield and flew up over the car," she said. "The first thing he asked was, ‘How’s my bike?’"
When the accident occurred the driver was attempting to turn left from S.R. 248 onto westbound U.S. 40, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Loveland said.
"A spider came down from her visor and she was freaking out while making the left-hand turn," Loveland said. "She just creamed this guy flat out didn’t even see the cyclist."
Valline bounced off the right side of the car and shattered the windshield, Loveland said, adding, "he’s pretty busted up from top to bottom."
"I remember being up in the air for quite a while," Valline said. "I was wondering when I was going to come down."
The driver was cited for allegedly making an improper left turn, Loveland said, adding that she may have been traveling 20 mph when she hit the man around 7:30 p.m.
When they saw the condition of the car, paramedics "thought they were picking up a dead guy," Francine Valline said.
"The changes that can happen in an instant from negligence with a vehicle, it’s just frightening to think about," she added.
Meanwhile, her husband said he underwent roughly six hours of surgery this week on his broken right femur and "destroyed" wrist.
"His bike came out pretty damn good — the frame is still intact," Loveland said, adding that the Lemond road bike "will definitely ride again."
According to Loveland, Valline was riding home from eastern Summit County where past conflicts between motorists and cyclists have escalated into road rage.
"The popularity of cycling is growing so much. Even the smaller towns are seeing a lot more cyclists than we ever have," Loveland said. "But [motorists] know they’re bigger and stronger than the bike and they get away with more."
Valline’s accident happened in the wake of a tongue-in-cheek comment from Oakley City Councilor DelRay Hatch that cyclists who don’t pay taxes to use the roads should be run over.
"Just a week ago we were riding on a Saturday morning and encountered some road rage from vehicles," Francine Valline said. "But bicyclists are not perfect either."
Many drivers, however, still don’t yield cyclists at least three feet of space when passing as required by state law, Loveland said.
"A lot of the motorists still are not familiar with or abide by the three-foot rule," he said, adding that, before they cross streets cyclists should attempt to make eye contact with drivers. "You hate to stop because you lose your momentum, but cyclists need to make sure the car sees them."
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