Too often, when a bike rider is seriously injured, it never makes the news. Especially if there’s not a car involved.
Even if it does, there’s seldom any word on what happens after that; no one other than family and friends usually know if the victim bounces back or suffers permanent injuries, or worse.
That’s what happened last year in Anaheim Hills, when bike rider died a month after he was injured in a solo fall.
According to the Orange County Register, 25-year old Gary Lofgren died in an Orange County hospital last October after falling while riding to a park to play football with friends.
A heartbreaking Facebook page created by his sister adds more information.
Lofgren was just two blocks from his home when he fell while riding downhill on September 20th. A neighbor heard him crash as he fell into some trash cans, and ran out to see him try to stand before collapsing hard onto the street.
That was 19 years to the day after his father died.
He was hospitalized with multiple brain bleeds as well as a fracture. And died exactly one month later, apparently without regaining consciousness, a few days after he was taken off life support.
And no, he was not wearing a helmet.
With the help of two friends, his family made a very moving video showing just how much they have lost. And calling for cyclists to wear helmets to keep others from suffering the same fate.
If you’ve been reading this site for awhile, you may know that I never ride without a helmet. But I am also aware of their limitations.
Bike helmets aren’t designed to protect against high speed collisions, where the force of impact can exceed their design capacity. They aren’t a substitute for riding safely, and should be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails.
But relatively slow speed falls like this are exactly what they are designed for.
A bike helmet is a cheap form of insurance against traumatic brain injury, as I know all too well. In 30 plus years of riding, I have only needed my helmet once; in that case, it probably saved my life.
Whether or not to wear one is your choice, as it should be. But like losing weight or giving up smoking, it’s something you do as much for those you’d leave behind, as much as you do for your own benefit.
As this video drives home quietly, and powerfully.
This raises the number of bicycling fatalities in Southern California last year to 86, with 20 in Orange County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gary Lofgren and all his loved ones.