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Dangerous bike paths
Wednesday, 02/24/2016 - 10:50 -

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If I start my sentence by saying that I was not yet familiar with the Spanish word for ‘hip’, you can guess the rest of the sentence and probably the rest of the story. Yes, I broke my hip in Málaga and I wasn’t pleased. Not pleased with myself and not pleased with Málaga and the circumstances that led to the accident.

I was riding my bike along the seashore, in front of the Diputacion Provincial, following one of the many curves that, in their urbanistic wisdom, city planners had included in the layout of the bicycle path. It is a nice enough route, but it has a flaw: it is unusually slippery when wet. Now the accident happened on a dry day, but the parks department must have been cleaning because there were some puddles as I went along. Suddenly the bike gave way under me and I fell hard on the left side of my pelvis. The impact was so bad I couldn’t get up. A few bystanders kindly picked me up and dragged me to a bench overlooking the sea. There was no way I could stand on my left foot.

It had been, until that moment, another sparkling, perfect afternoon in Málaga. But there I sat, dazed, angry and mapping out the consequences that were sure to follow. The pain was such that I was going to need hospital treatment. So the friendly gentlemen with the blue rubber gloves were called and they got me onto a stretcher, pumped a little tranquilizer into a vein and lifted me into their ambulance, direction Carlos Haya hospital. There I quickly figured out the meaning of the word ‘cadera’ and that was it. The cadera was rota, as the X Ray showed beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Ah yes, they said, everyone knows the bike path is dangerous when it is wet. It is notorious. But I didn’t know. I was riding cautiously along on my bike and there were no warning signs.

It was too late for me. I needed major hip surgery and am facing a long recovery, which I can only manage thanks to the kindness of friends who have generously offered to help. I also face a very large hospital bill.

It seems unconscionable to me to make bike paths with smooth, slippery surfaces. It makes no sense. So I would suggest the paths be covered with a permanent abrasive coating that will prevent accidents like mine.

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