As with most Sundays over the last two months, the day started as usual with a group ride with hubby's tri club. Rolling out from Manly Pool at 5.15ish, we were today making our way over the river via the Gateway Bridge to Redcliffe and back - an 80/90 km trip that was a slight extension of the previous week's outing.
It was all pretty non eventful to start - the group split into two to tackle the first climb over the Gateway and the only issue we had was stopping to pick up a light that had dropped off one of the bikes (yep, mine!)
The group again split on the Sandgate Esplanade for some speed work and regrouped just before the bridge over to Redcliffe, where we proceeded as a group to cross the Hornibrook passage.
We were maintaining about a 23km/hr pace and chatting as we do while we are riding. I was toward the back of the pack and was passed by a group of riders travelling quickly on my right.
Five or six riders ahead of me, these riders overtaking our group split to go around a jogger. She was in the right place (pedestrian side), however as one of the witnesses described, one rider passed on her left (correctly), while another tried to pass on her right. I think when the first rider passed she may have moved a little to the side and into the path of the other rider, who hit her at full speed, crumpling her to the ground. He also went over his handlebars and hit her full force, forcing her hard to the ground.
How the twenty or so riders around us stayed on our bikes, let alone stopped, dismounted and ran to the runner's assistance I will never know. As a first aider I went towards the rider, however one of our group is a nurse (R), and I must admit, I was extremely glad to let her take the lead and be directed by her.
While another club member called 000, R stabilised the jogger, a truly amazing feat that I was in awe of. R calmed the lady, managed a bad gash to her head, kept her still and safe until the ambulance arrived. Another one of our group found out her husband's name and proceeded to ride back along the foreshore asking males walking alone if they were "P" so we could let him know about her accident. Bren took off to meet the group members who had opted to stay at our rest stop until we returned to let them know what had happened. A couple of us performed traffic control duty to ensure the safety of those treating the casualty and the casualty themselves. That was the role I took on.
I was horrified at some of the rather blasé attitudes I encountered and more than a couple of riders felt the sharper side of my tongue! One fellow slowed down as directed and casually said "oh well that's what happens when you ride in a large group." I quickly put him straight that the casualty was a jogger. Another man complained that we were blocking the path and shouldn't be on the pedestrian side anyway. He backed down quickly when I explained why we were blocking the path!
On the most part though, people were very understanding and accommodating. When the ambos arrived there was no shortage of people available to assist them in getting their gear over the barriers, maintaining further crowd control and generally lending a hand.
In all of this, the poor fellow who had hit the runner was also assisting, turns out he is an ED doctor at a Brisbane hospital, but we also kept an eye on him as he was in a bit of shock as a result of the accident. Shame some of the others in his group were less than friendly and quite arrogant and rude to some of our guys when they tried to find out if they were ok. Think they were more than a little miffed that their ride had been interrupted. If that's the worst that happened to them today, then they should think themselves extremely lucky.
Thankfully the lady's hubby was located and he arrived in time to talk with the ambos and get details of the cyclists and others involved before she was loaded into the ambulance and taken to hospital.
And so it was back onto the bike for the ride home, cut short as the day was wearing on, but riding at a steady, slightly slower pace along the bridge back to Sandgate. It took all I had not to shout at riders passing us on the bridge at speed. But then if you weren't there to see it, it isn't really real to them anyway. I do know that when we do the ride next Sunday, we will certainly be riding single file on that bridge.
Regrouping at our designated rest stop, our ride leader "J" gave a quick debrief to ensure riders felt safe, understood that the accident was not the fault of any of our group and finally recognised the great skills we displayed in not further contributing to the accident with our quick emergency stops and evasive manoeuvres (something that we practice regularly at our training sessions).
But the single greatest positive I got out of the day was the sense of comeraderie and community that I got from our entire group. Bayside Multisports Tri Club has some absolutely wonderful members, and every person on our ride today should recognised for their efforts today - whatever they were.
I was so proud to be part of the group, and as we recollected the group and rolled out of the rest stop, I know there were people feeling a little fragile, a little shaky, a little too "human", but we got back on and rolled along. Even a very loud puncture blowout from Bren's bike wasn't enough to dampen spirits and on arrival back at the pool at the end of the journey, that sense of achieving something together was uplifting.
So to all those involved today, thank you for letting me be part of something positive out of a negative - I feel richer for having been part of that experience.
(And a further positive that is entirely selfish to me - one person who offered to help was a podiatrist who didn't stay when he realised the calibre of assistance already in place. When he explained he was a foot doctor, I asked a question about an issue when I ride and he directed me to a fabulous website to help me treat my "hot foot" issues. So another little rainbow after the rain!)