Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cyclist, Runner Survives to Tell Tale

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cyclist, Runner Survives to Tell Tale

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Longenecker, Shorelines columnist

In the late 1950s, the main character on the TV show Sea Hunt, Lloyd Bridges' Mike Nelson usually narrated the underwater sequences. In a too-dramatic voice, he would tell us he was facing a life-threatening situation.

Even as a little kid, I realized that if he had indeed been killed, he couldn't be the narrator. Similarly, this column is proof of my life after the incident about to be described.

You knew this column would come some day. On Feb. 15, a pickup truck clipped the rearview mirror of my bicycle. I must still be alive or I couldn't have written this possibly Pulitzer Prize-winning column.

The accident happened about 6:30 a.m. on the three-lanes-wide Atlantic Boulevard just east of the radio station and bridge. The street lights were on. Three taillights hung from my backpack. I was in the correct lane. A light rain had left a large puddle, and I tried to miss most of it -- unsure of what might be in it.

The truck came so fast that I hadn't noticed it in the very rear view mirror it hit. In a split second, I was down on the road thinking the worst had happened. The truck drove on without stopping. As I started my physical self-exam, I suddenly realized I should get off of the street. Ironically, the two headlights on my bike still were lit.

Both wheels still were round and rolled nicely. A shifter-brake lever had been rotated. The mirror was cracked, but I was OK. So far. I climbed back on the bike and crossed the bridge to stop in a well-lit gas station for further inspection. My left hip seemed fine, possibly because the puddle acted as an air bag.

No other car had been within a half mile. Otherwise, I could have been hit full on while lying there stunned. I felt fine, though a bit shaken. Pancake deprivation prevailed and I set out to consume a stack of blueberry multigrain pancakes to celebrate what could have been a far worse situation.

Then, while downing a cup of coffee, I felt a lump on my left side. …

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