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Good Samaritan to the
rescue after bicycle crash

The following is the 10th in a series of Odessa File columns by Jim Reed, managing partner of the Ziff Law Firm, regarding news of a legal nature that readers might find timely in this ever-changing world.

By Jim Reed
Managing partner
Ziff Law Firm, Elmira

My wife, Meg, and I have been riding together on a tandem bicycle for 20 years. We ride our own bikes most of the time, but the tandem gives us a great way to share our passion for cycling and spend time together enjoying the beautiful Finger Lakes countryside.

We are lucky to be alive, though, after our tandem suffered a major structural failure on Aug. 19 during one of our rides that sent us crashing to the road. It was a terrifying few minutes we will never forget, followed, very fortunately, by the kindness of a Good Samaritan named Rusty who saved the day for us.

Before Rusty arrived, though, it was just Meg and I riding on Logan Road in the Town of Hector, a road we have ridden hundreds of times. We were about five miles from our home after riding about 25 miles.

I had visually inspected our tandem before we left our house. We had just returned from a week of riding the roads of Vermont together, where we traveled about 75 miles a day on the tandem. The dependable and rugged seven-year-old tandem appeared to be good shape.

In the seconds before we crashed, we sped through a steep downhill part of Logan Road at 35 to 40 miles per hour so we could build momentum for the incline just ahead. It felt like a routine ride for us.

But as we climbed the steep incline at less than 10 miles per hour, nearing the crest of the hill, I felt an awkward movement from Meg, and then the bike pivoted from side to side. Meg's handlebars (and my seat post) had broken off in her hands and she lost the ability to control the bike.

The next thing I knew, we were both on the pavement and one of Meg's elbows was bleeding. I quickly moved Meg to safety, well off the road, and checked her injury. She was in pain, but suffered no serious injuries. I was fortunate to escape any injury.

I went back out on the road -- no traffic had passed yet -- and could see right away what happened that led to our crash: the metal post that held my seat, and Meg's handlebars, had broken off.

I moved the bike off the road and, as I was preparing to call one of our neighbors to help us, Rusty drove by. He passed us at first, probably not seeing us right away, but he backed up and asked if we needed help.

Once I explained what happened, he helped us pile our broken tandem into the back of his old pickup truck. He offered to take us to the Hector Fire Department to have the EMT on duty look at Meg's injury, but we declined, so we headed back to his farm so he could get his bigger pickup truck, and from there, we were home in minutes.

Rusty took a chance on us, welcoming two banged-up strangers into his pickup truck without hesitating. His compassion reminded us -- once again -- how lucky we were to select Schuyler County as our home seven years ago. One of my favorite things about folks in Upstate NY is how local folks pull together to help others in need.

Meg and I offer our thanks to Rusty and the many other Good Samaritans in the Finger Lakes who don't think twice about helping a stranger in need.


Photos in text:

Top: Attorney Jim Reed.
Middle: A Good Samaritan named Rusty gave Jim and Meg Reed a ride home after their tandem crashed on Aug. 19.
Bottom: The post that held Jim's seat and Meg's handlebars broke on Aug. 19, sending them crashing on Logan Road in the Town of Hector.


To see Jim Reed's first column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's second column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's third column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's fourth column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's fifth column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's sixth column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's seventh column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's eighth column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's ninth column, click here.
To read Adam Gee's first column, click here.


© The Odessa File 2018
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869