On a cold morning in late Fall 2010, veteran biker Ryan Sabga was out on a training ride through the streets of Denver. Following a standard course of street to alley to street, he pulled up to a stop sign and waited for traffic to clear. Once clear, he crossed the street. Suddenly, a car tore out of an alley and hit him and his bike. Officers responded, and the motorist denied hitting the seasoned biker.
Technology came to Sabga’s rescue. His bike GPS confirmed that he was the victim in this crash.
From smartphones which serve as alarms, cameras and flashlights to cars that drive themselves, our world is changing. Technology has become a national addiction. In some cases, these gizmos and gadgets have proven that they can help when human memory fails. For cyclists, GPS tracking computers are more than directional aids or digital-age personal trainers; they are keys to reconstructing routes and crashes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 600 pedalcyclists were killed and 51, 000 were injured on our nation’s roads in 2009. And, of these thousands of crashes, most (70 percent) occurred in urban areas like New York City. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 92 percent of all New York bicycle accidents deaths in 2009 happened as a result of collisions with motor vehicles.
When a cyclist is hit, more than minor scrapes and bruises can occur. Any bike crash can potentially cause broken bones, concussions, brain injury or even death. Injured cyclists often don’t remember how the crash occurred. In the race to unravel details and fix fault, technology comes to the rescue.
In Sabga’s case, his bike GPS was able to reveal to police his compliance with the law, where he was hit and where his bike ultimately came to rest. In another case, New York Times writer John Markoff suffered memory loss after a bike crash, and the GPS helped him retrace his route and discover the cause of his bike accident.
Cycling and cyclists present a unique challenge to roadway safety. According to the National Safety Council, cyclist-related injuries and deaths cost the public about $4 billion per year. Where witnesses are scarce and parties unclear of details, a cyclist’s right to recovery may rest on his or her recall. When injuries make remembering next to impossible, technology has proven to be the biker’s relief.