Cyclists are still reeling from the news --and the scene--of cyclist Camille Savoy who was tragically struck last Sunday. And while details of Savoy's injuries--and the exact cause of his accident-- have been slow to come out, an outpouring of sympathy and wishes for his recovery have filled the E-waves.
While traveling north on Rt. 9W, a popular route for cyclists that normally carries from 2,400 to 3,500 cyclists a weekend, Savoy, 54 was struck in the vicinity of Closter, NJ, by a motorist who apparently clipped him and caused him to fall.
The scene was met with horror by passing cyclists who saw the ground strewn with a flattened bicycle, a front wheel crushed some 20 feet away, and a pile of torn multi-colored lycra still another 20 feet further away --presumably where Savoy had been cut out of his clothing by paramedics trying to treat his injuries.
"Camille has made some, albeit very modest, progress," wrote a friend Van Gothner to BBB. "He remains in a medically induced coma and the doctors hope to bring him out of it this weekend. Two of his five sisters have arrived and are with him. The prognosis remains uncertain," he said.
Savoy sustained a broken back, a broken foot, head injuries, and his lungs are filled with blood, according to the last report from Van Gothner.
A spokeswoman for the Hackensack University Medical hospital where Savoy is being treated, said she was unable to release an update from the earliest assessment of his condition which was listed as "critical."
Messages of concern, friendship and love poured out onto the pages of BBB and local discussion groups of the FIve Borough Bike Club. Wrote Sharon F. on BBB, "[Savoy] is one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever met. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers."
Another person who remained anonymous wrote, "I’m a frequent rider on 9-W. It is heart wrenching to hear about this accident and I hope for the safe recovery of the cyclist."
Wrote another, "My husband and I rode by the scene of the accident shortly after it had occurred... We knew that the injuries were serious and stopped to pray for him then and will continue to keep him in our prayers."
A family who knows Savoy wrote, "Camille is an amazing athlete and wonderful person. He has been like a part of my family for as long as I can remember, and now my three boys adore and admire him as well. I ask that everyone who knows Camille or someone like him send thoughts of healing to him. I believe that it makes a difference. Love, Strength, Healing to Camille and his family. DD, Ben, Matt, John."
Another friend wrote: "He is an extraordinary person, great friend and much loved. It will be some time before the full extent of his injuries are known. Please keep him in your prayers."
A member of the Five Borough Bike Club, one of the largest local bike riding clubs, posting to the group's shared email said that he spoke to a "lieutenant" at the Alpine police station who appeared to attribute some blame to Savoy for riding close to the white line.
Wet leaves heavily carpeted the ground and filled half the width of the road's shoulder, a fact that some cyclists have theorized may have led Savoy to move closer to the white line that separates the shoulder from the northbound car lane. But still there has been no official word from the Bergen County Prosecutor's office on how the accident occurred.
Only the prosecutor's office can make a determination of cause, and the local police station is not party to that investigation.
Chapter Eight of the New Jersey state department of motor vehicles,
states that "a motorist should always leave plenty of room when following or passing a bicyclist, skateboarder or inline skater. Under New Jersey law, each of these individuals has the same rights and responsibilities as a moving motor vehicle," it says.
And while cyclists do have the responsibility to ride as far to the right as possible, they are specifically entitled to move to the left when there are impediments.
According to New Jersey DMV regulation, 39:4-14.2, 39:4-10.11, , "Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right roadside as practicable exercising due care ... A bicyclist may move left under any of the following conditions:... 2) To avoid debris, drains, or other hazardous conditions on the right," says the regulation.