Last Wednesday afternoon, eastbound Adventure Cyclist and warmshowers member Katherine Perkins were struck from behind by an automobile in the Queen Creek Tunnel on the ACA Southern Tier Route, between Superior and Globe, Arizona. She is currently in the Scottsdale-Osborne Trauma Center with a broken back, left arm, shoulder, hand, several fingers, several ribs, and possibly hip as well as multiple abrasions and lacerations. She is doing well and a full recovery is predicted. Thank goodness!
As Warm Showers hosts, we had provided a bed and shower for Katie on Tuesday evening. We were impressed with her preparation, both physical and mental, for the cross-country ride she had ahead of her. We sent her on her way Wednesday morning, assuming that we would never see her again but hoping to hear from her as she traversed the country.
Unfortunately, that afternoon we received a call from the hospital. We visited her in the emergency room, drove to Globe the next day and picked up her very mangled bicycle and other gear, and have visited her several times since that. Her father was able to fly in from Virginia; he is with her now. Her recovery will, indeed, be lengthy.
We ourselves have bicycled that section of the Southern Tier route. State route 60 is narrow in some areas and has several narrow bridges, that one tunnel, and moderate high speed traffic. We know that tunnel is well lit and has two eastbound uphill lanes, allowing drivers a clear view of the entire tunnel. Anything in the tunnel or on the roadway in the tunnel should easily be seen and easy to avoid. Katie had a flashing tail light and was wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket. Nevertheless, a 78 year old man struck her from behind. At this point, we do not know what legal action has been taken or will be taken, but we have advised the Perkins family to get legal advice.
We need to promote bicycle safety and bicycle awareness a every possible opportunitity. We need to advocate with the various Departments of Transportation to improve bicycle safety.
Bill and Gerri Myers