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.
Here’s what the car looked like:
Here’s what the bike looked like:
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.
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.