A Des Moines man is hospitalized in critical condition after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle Friday morning.
Police say 26-year-old Luke Sudbrock was riding his bike early Friday morning on Scott Avenue near 36th Street, when he was rear-ended by a car and thrown from his bike.
Police were able to determine that the driver of the vehicle, 68-year-old Dumont Mathews of Pleasant Hill, was not impaired. They say Mathews didn’t see the bike until the last moment but did try to swerve away.
It’s a recipe for disaster.
A narrow road with no bike lanes and no street lights, 30 minutes before sunrise, and a bike rider without a helmet that police say wasn’t easy for the 68 year old driver to see.
“The bike did not have lights on it. Mr. Sudbrock wasn’t wearing reflective clothing or reflectors. Visibility would have been a challenge at the time of morning,” said Sgt. Jason Halifax of the Des Moines Police Department.
The lack of bike lanes doesn’t mean Luke Sudbrock shouldn’t have been on the road.
“Bicyclists are allowed to be on the road, but under Iowa code they have to share the road with vehicles,” said Halifax.
However, when visibility is low, state law requires riders to have lights or reflectors on the front and rear of their bikes.
Sean Dickinson, a mechanic at Bike World in Urbandale may not be alive today without the lights on his bike and helmet he wears on each ride.
“Had I not had that on, that would have been my skull. The helmet did its job,” said Dickinson.
Two years ago, he was hit by a car while riding near Water Works Park.
“I rolled up over his hood and smashed his windshield,” Dickinson told Channel 13 News.
Dickinson spent weeks in physical therapy after the accident.
He now uses his close call to teach fellow riders how to stay safe and visible on the road.
“Night time or early morning, I keep my light going and this has reflective tape,” said Dickinson.
So far, no charges have been filed against the driver.
Sudbrock is at Mercy Medical Center where he is in critical condition.