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Cyclist shares crash survival story
Stop signs mean stop, so stop. When other vehicles on the road are stopped at an intersection or crosswalk for seemingly no reason, slow down and make sure they haven’t stopped for a pedestrian crossing the road. Those are just a couple road rules that could’ve prevented Steve Price, 46, of Pleasure Point from being struck by a car at 4:40 p.m. Oct. 15 in the crosswalk at Portola Drive and 32nd Avenue. “I’m super lucky to be alive,” he said. Price, a landscaper and an avid surfer and yoga practitioner, was on his way home from grocery shopping when he was hit. The intersection was busy that day, Price said. He dismounted his bicycle and waited until it was safe to cross Portola at 32nd. Finally, vehicles stopped, allowing him to cross the road. He set out on foot, then as he neared the other side of the road, he mounted his bike and put his feet on his pedals. “Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a white bumper coming at me,” said Price. “There was nothing I could do.” The vehicle struck Price’s leg, sending his body onto the car’s hood, through the windshield and striking the steering wheel. His head grazed the pointy edge of a surfboard atop the car. He then landed 6 feet from the front of the car on the pavement, he said. “I heard a bunch of people yelling, ‘Don’t move!,’” he said, noting that he “was seeing stars.” Members of the Central Fire Protection District were among the witnesses who rushed to Price’s aid. He declined an ambulance ride to the hospital, but sought medical help on his own. His injuries consist of a cut to the right side of his head and muscle strain. Price credits his good physical condition for his lack of broken bones. “I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime,” said Price, who has not worked or surfed since the crash. “But this is by far the scariest thing I’ve been through.” The driver was cited for speeding, CHP officer Sarah Jackson said. That area of Portola Drive has seen its share of traffic collisions and the CHP patrols there “all the time,” Jackson said. While Jackson didn’t have collision statistics readily available, she did say that she herself was broadsided at 30th and Portola while on patrol there about three years ago. She was patrolling there that day because of a recent collision involving an SUV and two toddlers. The driver was making a right turn from 30th onto Portola using the rolling stop method and didn’t see that there were small children in the crosswalk with an older sibling or babysitter on the right side, she recalled. “Their injuries were bad,” Jackson said. “They had to be life-flighted out.” Jackson said pedestrians should make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road. “Don’t step off the curb unless it is safe,” she said. To drivers, “Pay attention,” Jackson said. “It only takes a split second for you to be distracted to cause major injuries or even kill someone.” Price would like to see the county make some safety improvements to that area, possibly crosswalk lights. County representatives did not respond to Street Smarts in time for this publication but the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission’s Elderly and Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee’s Pedestrian Safety Work Group could look into including mid-block signs and push button flashing lights for 30th Avenue in a report it’s completing for a Caltrans Environmental Justice grant, said Karena Pushnik of the RTC. While he wasn’t wearing a helmet when he was struck, he pledges to wear one as soon as he buys a new bike.
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