Cyclist in ICU after car hit him on Jefferson bridge

Dells District resident Dallas Torres is in ICU at Baylor hospital this morning after undergoing surgery for a broken neck Sunday. A driver hit Torres from behind on the Jefferson Viaduct about 2 p.m. Saturday.

Torres was wearing a helmet, which likely saved his life. When the car hit him, Torres rolled onto the hood and hit the windshield. He sustained three fractures in his neck, a pinched nerve and a broken clavicle. So far, there is no indication of paralysis or brain damage.

The driver gave police a Texas Identification Card, and we suspect he does not have a license. He was not arrested.

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Here’s what the car looked like:

Photo courtesy of Josh Kalina

Here’s what the bike looked like:

This was a rare Cannondale color scheme, and Torres had this bike shipped from another state.

Entering the Jefferson Bridge from Zang to downtown on a bicycle is dangerous, but it’s virtually the only way to get from North Oak Cliff to downtown. A cyclist entering the bridge must cross two lanes of cars entering the bridge to get to the right lane. Torres was hit in the third lane.

Dallas, 32, and his wife, Marissa, are friends of mine. They’re Townview Center high school sweethearts and have been married five years. One of the first things Dallas said when Marissa saw him after the accident was, “We need to move out of this city.” She knew he meant that Dallas is not a safe city for cyclists, and bicycles are a huge part of their lives. Dallas, a former auto body technician, recently quit his job to complete a course in bicycle frame building. He was just starting out in his own venture. On Saturday, he was putting in the 40 or so miles he typically rides every day.

Even though the city paid for consultants and traffic studies and has started to put bicycles at the forefront of its public image, Dallas does not have the money to implement bike lanes and other safety measures for bicyclists that are outlined in the recently adopted Dallas bike plan.

Holly Jefferson of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff suggested the Jefferson Viaduct should get a privately funded bike lane named after Dallas Torres. Doctors say he can start riding again in six months, and I have no doubt he will.

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I’m not sure whether our Saturday morning women’s ride from Oak Cliff to White Rock Lake will be the same. Marissa says she doesn’t want to cross that dangerous bridge again, and I don’t blame her. After an interview with WFAA last night, wherein she criticized the lack of safety for bicyclists in Dallas, Marissa said she hoped this accident would make a difference. “It doesn’t make it worth it,” she says. But hopefully, we can keep the next guy out of ICU.

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  • Rare Progeny

    I’m glad to hear your husband will recover from this terrible injury. I am always struck by how insensitive the drivers are to cyclists around Dallas. My partner and I have been riding all over the metroplex for years, but every time we go out, I say a prayer for our safety.

  • By the way, Dallas went home from the hospital last night. Yay!

  • Rachel Stone

    I am sure he probably did get a ticket, but I don’t have that information.

  • Stubbs

    And why was the driver not arrested or at least ticketed?

  • We already have one.  His name is Max Kalhammer.

  • Cindy

    makes me teary eyed, glad he is doing well.

  • That road is the quickest connection from Oak Cliff to Downtown but unfortunately it’s also super dangerous.  I hope everything turns out alright.

  • lc

    Sympathy, healing thoughts, and wishes for full recovery to your friends.
    I’m thinking Dallas could use a bike czar/liaison and a serious public education campaign.

  • Rachel Stone

    It is terrible, Kathi, but Dallas is doing really well since surgery, and he didn’t have so much as a concussion. His noggin is fine, thanks to that helmet.

  • Kathikibbel

    Praying he comes out of this ok.  This is so terrible.