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Bicycle accident leads to amputation for California man

A California cyclist is beginning to ride his bike again after suffering serious injuries in an accident that led to the amputation of his lower right leg. After surviving the collision, the 37-year-old man formed an organization known as Finish the Ride, which aims to help raise money for groups such as the Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. His organization is holding an event in April that will involve celebrity guest speakers, local politicians and many cyclists.

The bicycle accident occurred in February of 2013 while the man was riding with his wife. A van, trying to get around stopped cars, ended up heading straight into the cyclist's path. The van dragged the man for around a quarter-mile. After making a sudden stop, the man was thrown to the ground. The man's right ankle was then crushed as the van sped off toward a freeway. The cyclist ended up with 20 broken bones necessitating 11 surgeries, one of which involved the amputation of the lower section of his leg. Doctors also needed to conduct a skin graft on the man's back and rear due to the dragging.

Despite an aggressive investigation conducted by the California Highway Patrol, as well as a $25,000 reward for information, the driver of the van has not yet been found. The cyclist has since been focusing on the hit-and-run epidemic in Los Angeles. According to police estimates, about 20,000 hit-and-run incidents occur every year in the city. Around 4,000 of those result in death or injury.

One California politician has stated that the penalties for committing a hit-and-run must be equal to or greater than those for drunk driving if the number of incidents is ever going to decrease. Regardless of possible changes in criminal sentencing, however, any cyclist who is hit by a vehicle should consider taking civil action to see if financial recovery could be possible.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News, "Bicyclist to finish ride after losing leg in hit-and-run" Rick Orlov, Mar. 09, 2014

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