You never fully appreciate police, fire and ambulance crews until you really need them.
Last week, I was riding my bicycle on Washington County Road 4 near Lowell, when a dog ran out into the road and collided with me, knocking me to the pavement.
I was riding with two friends who called 9-1-1 at my request.
The Warren Volunteer Fire Department's E-M-S crew responded in very quick fashion, checked me out on the ground, and proceeded to slide me onto a back board and load me into their ambulance. I have covered countless stories involving people being loaded into ambulances. But this was the first time that I was the one being loaded!
They continued to monitor my status as we made our way to the hospital. They even took extra care in loading my bike into a pickup truck, then drove it to the hospital, and rolled it into my examination room!
I was given a battery of tests and a head scan and it was determined that there was nothing broken and no damage had occurred to my head, neck or brain. I credit a hard head, an even harder bike helmet, and a little luck with seeing me through this mishap.
I've been pretty bruised and banged up this week and hope to be back to normal very soon. The dog, I'm told, is recovering as well. The bike took some work but it appears to be road-ready.
I hope that this incident will let people know three things:
1. Regardless of your age, the speed at which you ride, whether you're riding in town or out of town, a helmet is a life-saver. Don't even think about getting on a bicycle without a proper helmet that is properly sized and tightened
2. If you have dogs that like to chase cars or bikes or merely tend to wander into the road or streets, you must secure them. It's the law in most communities and now I know why: they're a serious danger to themselves, to motorists, to bicyclists and motorcyclists.
3. And finally, support your local fire and rescue crews. They do thankless work in all sorts of weather and all sorts of terrible situations. Thanks again to the Warren Volunteer Fire Department!
That's this week's editorial.