By Pico Triano
Photos: Shawn Whitelaw, Pico Triano
I'm sure it doesn't happen very often that a passing cyclist ends up assisting at an accident scene. It has happened to me however. This particular incident did give me pause for thought at the time. I've seen more spectacular crashes but I'd never been in a position to get involved before.
Long early morning commute in Eastern Ontario – most of my ride in was through countryside. On the way I passed through a couple of small villages. Lunenburg isn't much of a hiccup on the map, a few houses, a post office, a church and one intersection. It was a cool fall day, one of those harbingers of winter. Just south of town a car passed me and maybe a hundred feet further up the road the driver over corrected with the steering and went into a skid. I watched the car slide sideways and then spurt forward straight off the road. It disappeared into the bushes followed by a muffled whumpf.
Hard to understand why it happened. The pavement was quite new and I had a wide paved shoulder to ride on. I'm glad she decided to lose control well after passing me or I could have been a casualty. I honestly don't have any idea the cause. She wasn't texting and driving or talking on the cell phone at the time because she had to pull that out of her purse after the fact.
When I got there, the car was upside down on its roof. The one front wheel had a big clod of dirt and grass hanging from it. A tractor trailer rig from the other directions stopped as well, a good thing because I really didn't know what to do. The rear window of the car had shattered and the trucker got a blanket out of his truck and laid it down to protect from all the sharp corners. I helped him haul the young woman driver out that way. Thankfully she was unhurt, just very shook up.
While he kept her calm, I set about trying to flag down someone with a cell phone. I worked for years in a call centre servicing cell phone customers and I'm kind of allergic to the things. That's part of the reason I don't carry one. The trucker had one but down on the low ground beside the road he was having trouble getting enough signal to call.
Once everything was settled, I continued on my way to work. I usually leave with time to spare so I still made it to work on time.
Later that year the company I worked for offered to pay anyone interested to get their first aid certification. I jumped at the opportunity. Anyone can stumble upon an emergency medical situation and this way I don't feel quite so helpless. The accident I witnessed could have been a lot worse. My hats off to any first responders. My certification has since expired but if I ever get the chance to renew it I'd be just as eager to retake the course. Never know when you might be needed.
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