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Watchful Eyes: People bicycling help, by seeing what people driving miss

People on bicycles are the eyes, and ears, of their communities, a valuable “Neighborhood Watch.” They have broad vision and a moderate pace of travel, both of which put them in a position to be helpful to others in a way that people driving cannot be.

Tip of the helmet to Ernie Gallardo of Greenfield, a member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Advisory Committee of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, for being “Watchful Eyes”—and a helper—biking Monterey County, including on November 22, 2017. The Salinas Californian “We Could Car Less” columnist MacGregor Eddy reported Ernie helped a collapsed pedestrian that day, south of Soledad. For details, scroll down MacGregor’s December 6, 2017 column. (Learn more about Ernie in MacGregor’s November 3 column “Vietnam vet rides a bike for fun and therapy.” For South County bike tips, click here.)

The post below was previously published on 9/3/16. 

An injured man and dog were rescued in South Monterey County after a person bicycling saw what others had missed: a vehicle down an approximately 200-foot embankment north of the Calandra Lookout. See “Man rescued after night over cliff near Lockwood” in the 9/3/16 Salinas Californian.

[Update: Sadly, the man rescued September 2, 2016, Todd Michael “Sharkboy” Endris of Spreckels, passed away September 12 as a result of his injuries. On October 8, his life was honored in a very special way; see Tom Leyde’s story in the Monterey County Herald, “Paddle-out: Life of surfing legend, shark attack victim Todd Michael Endris celebrated.”]

The two photos directly below were provided courtesy of Sheriff Steve Bernal, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, who was on scene 9/2/16. Special thanks to Undersheriff Michael Moore.

Read on for more “Watchful Eyes” scenarios below…

Sept 3 2016 rescue - Photo courtesy Monterey County Sheriff - 3


Sept 3 2016 rescue - Photo courtesy Monterey County Sheriff - 1
This Monterey County rescue reminds me of another example of how people on bicycles serve as a Neighborhood Watch / Community Watch: Nancy Breberg’s sports utility vehicle went off the road, making a 5-foot drop that landed her and her SUV in icy water for 18 hours. She was rescued only after 20-year-old bike-to-work commuter Geoff Racette noticed something out of the ordinary. Read the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s story “Trapped in her car for 18 hours, Centerville woman prayed for help – Police say Nancy Breberg owes her life to cyclist who spotted her car.”

German visitors in Moss Landing 29 April 2012 (1)

As an 18-year-old driver, I swerved to avoid hitting a possum, totalling my mom’s car when I flipped it end-over-end down a 20-foot embankment along Illinois State Route 54 near Buffalo Hart. People driving by, unable to see the car, didn’t stop to help. They surely thought it odd that I and my passengers—a friend and her 3-year-old son—were standing alongside the highway at night. Maybe they were fearful of stopping. Or maybe, because they were driving at highway speeds and couldn’t stop easily, they just found it too inconvenient. Miraculously, we were free of serious injuries and able to walk to the nearest farmhouse. It would have been so helpful if someone had been bicycling that road!
When you see people on bicycles, like those in this post, please share the road cheerfully, including giving them a minimum of three feet for safety (that’s California law). And know that the more people who bike, the stronger communities are, for so many reasons—public health, environment, economy, and even public safety, as the drivers in the stories above can attest to.
Woman from Santa Cruz and visiting granddaughter (5)

Keith - lupines - 4-7-13 Hwy 68

Regarding the first story in this post, in addition to appreciation for the person bicycling who saw and reported that emergency, appreciation also goes to: Fort Hunter Liggett Fire Department, San Ardo Volunteer Fire Department, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team, AMR Ambulance Company, Mercy Air, and Monterey County Animal Services.


For many more benefits of bicycling…

See “Why Bike” in the 20-section Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide.
Henderson - Alisal near Blanco, Salinas - 15 Apr 2012 (1)

This post was previously published 3 September 2016.

This post was published on 7 December 2017. One or more changes last made to this post on 9 December 2017.

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