Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cyclist injured in two-bike crash

From page A3 | January 28, 2014 | 5 Comments

A collision between two bicyclists sent an El Macero man to the hospital Friday morning, the California Highway Patrol reported Monday.

Wilfred C. Uecker, 69, was among a group of cyclists riding in a tight group on eastbound Russell Boulevard near County Road 96 when the crash occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. Another bicyclist, 61-year-old John W. Swann of Davis, hit a pothole and clipped Uecker’s rear tire, resulting in Uecker losing control and being thrown from his bike, CHP Officer Cindy Leal said.

Uecker, who complained of pain to his head, was transported to the UC Davis Medical Center for treatment, Leal said.


Discussion | 5 comments

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  • Rich RifkinJanuary 27, 2014 - 8:18 pm

    "Another bicyclist, 61-year-old John W. Swann of Davis, hit a pothole and clipped Uecker’s rear tire ..." ...................... The asphalt on the Russell bike path from Road 95A to Road 98 is mostly pretty good. However, in parts there are problems; and overall, of course, the path is deteriorating as the county has no money to fill the potholes. ................. Where that path is really in brutal shape is inside the City of Davis (where it is called the Howard Reese Commemorative Bike Path) from Arthur Street to the western city limit. The path has not been fixed for many years--at least 10, probably more--and, because the roots of the walnut trees cause heaving, it is now exceedingly dangerous for bicycles and runners. I've never seen anyone knocked down on a bike hitting a pothole on the Howard Reese. But I have seen runners trip and fall as they catch a foot in a deep crevice.

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  • MartinJanuary 28, 2014 - 9:52 am

    The article does not specify whether the cyclists were riding on the path or the road along that section of Russell Blvd. However, there are a number of potholes at the road surface stretch from 95A to 98. Furthermore riding in a peloton requires full concentration and accidents happen regardless of the assembled level of skills. Unfortunately, I have seen numerous groups evite the transitions of the path for the road. I do not think this is a particularly wise approach for numerous reasons. Russell Blvd. is narrow with little room for mistakes; it is a well-traveled corridor for commuters and big rigs throughout the day. On the other hand, Howard Reese Memorial Path is a mess for all those who want use this major corridor for all types of reasons, ranging from walking the dog to cycling out to the countryside. It's uneven surface is a challenge for both runners and cyclists as they interact with each other and other users of this common path. A smoother surface would provide a better and safer experience for all. However, a mind set that this path is intended for a myriad of activities should be adopted by all and would go a long way in making it a better environment for all. Being an avid cyclist I believe it is encumbent upon cyclists to proceed at a safe speed when on this path, riding single file when approaching any other users of the path and politely announcing themselves as they pass them. I am sorry to hear this cyclist went down and hope he enjoys a full and speedy recovery.

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  • Rich RifkinJanuary 28, 2014 - 3:54 pm

    Good points, Martin. I hadn't considered that the group was on Russell itself, and not on the bike path. As I re-read the article, it seems more likely they were not on the bike path. ......... I, too, ride out that way all the time. Yesterday by myself and Saturday with a DBC group I returned from Winters on that stretch. I almost always stick to the bike path. But, I do know, that the pavement on the right side of Russell, just east of the Glide Ranch (where the CAFF sign is), is in poor shape. That might be where this crash happened. A lot of cyclists--usually fast riders--will ride on the road starting at that point, because they don't want to cross Russell twice for the stretch where the bike path is on the north side of the road. ........... Completely unrelated, but I was riding home yesterday on that north side stretch of the bike path (across from the Jehovah's church) when I saw a pack of 3 coyotes in a dry alfalfa field. I had never seen any coyotes out there before. I suspect the drought is bringing them closer to Davis for a drink of water.

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  • John SwannJanuary 29, 2014 - 6:11 pm

    This report is not quite accurate. There was a pothole but nobody hit it. Five of us were riding eastbound on Russel near the Fairfield school. We were on the road, not the bike path. There was a strong north wind so we were echeloned. I was 4th and Wil was last behind me. I assume he swerved to avoid the pothole and touched my wheel as a result. Wil went down hard. He was unconscious for about 5 minutes. His helmet was broken in four places. The only pain he mentioned was his ribs. He broke 3 of them and has a small puncture in his lung.

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  • Rich RifkinJanuary 29, 2014 - 7:32 pm

    Although my suggestion does not necessarily apply to a group ride, one thing I recommend when riding on imperfect rural roads with little or no shoulders is to NOT ride as close to the right edge as you can, but instead to ride at least 3-4 feet from the right edge. I realized this when I've come across potholes or deep cracks and, at the last moment, had to dodge to my left to avoid them. That dodging into the car's traffic lane is very dangerous. Even if you have good hearing and have a good rear-view mirror, you might not realize that a car or truck is speeding past you at a given moment. If you leave a few feet free on your right, and you come upon dangerous pavement, you can dodge to your right. Also, if you use a rear-view mirror (which I do and most riders I ride with do), and you are 4 feet from the right edge and you see a "car back!", you can get out of his way while he is passing by moving to the right edge temporarily. Finally, I think if you are not on the farthest right edge of the roadway, cars are more apt to steer left a bit to go around you, unless there is oncoming traffic. If you are way to the right, many cars will think there is room to pass and won't give bikes any space.

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