Alleged bike-rage incident pits Byron Nix against Herbert Hoover's grandson
Remember the infamous incident in which a Longmont driver honked at two cyclists on an open road for several minutes ? Something similar happened again -- only this time, someone got hurt. Byron Nix was knocked off of his bike after a truck hit him and crushed his bike on Sunday. And the driver, who says the whole thing was an accident, happens to be President Herbert Hoover's grandson.
Big photos below.
The cyclist says that after half a minute of honking behind him in Deer Creek Canyon, the vehicle hit his bike, crushed it and just narrowly missed pulling him under as well.
The occurence is just the latest in a series of high-profile bike-vehicle conflicts -- among them the tragic death of 23-year-old Gelseigh Karl-Cannon who was hit by a truck in Cherry Creek North. Cyclists and drivers seem to agree that there are growing tensions on the road between people on bikes and those behind the wheel -- the topic of our recent feature, "On a Roll," prompted by Denver's first bike fatality this year.
Andrew Hoover, the man who hit Nix (and the grandson of Herbert Hoover, America's 31st president), received news attention earlier this year when his Littleton home was destroyed in a fire. And while he and Nix generally similar stories of what happened, Nix maintains that Hoover was clearly harassing him and his fellow cyclists before the collision -- and then was shockingly unsympathetic after he nearly killed him. For his part, Hoover, who was cited for careless driving, laments that cyclists in general are taking up too much space on the road and that in this case, Nix was the person who deserved a citation.
All photos courtesy of Byron Nix The scene of the accident on Sunday in Deer Creek Canyon
Here's what happened, according to Nix. He was riding with a group of twelve cyclists on Sunday morning in Deer Creek Canyon when they started hearing loud honking behind them. They were on a somewhat narrow and twisty part of the road, where he says drivers have to take care when passing cyclists.
The cyclists were riding single file, though Nix was drifting to the back of the line -- a common practice for cyclists traveling in a group.
"It was at least thirty seconds of constantly hitting the horn," says Nix, 45, an avid cyclist who races competitively and has won numerous titles. "We obviously knew there was a car behind us."
Nix says his group of cyclists, all of them very experienced, is extremely careful to stay to the side of the road to let cars pass -- and they warn each other when cars are coming up the road.
The law says cars need to have three feet if they want to pass cyclists.
As Nix was drifting back to the end of the line, Hoover, in a Ford Ranger truck, started yelling at the last cyclist in the team, according to Nix.
"His bumper was inches away from me," he says.
"He was arguing and yelling...and then he hit the accelerator without looking forward," says Nix.
Given what happened next, it's miraculous that he wasn't seriously injured or killed, he says. The bumper of the truck got stuck to the tire on Nix's bike and the wheel caved underneath the force of the truck as the frame of the bike collapsed.
"Thankfully, right after, he hit the brake, so I didn't go under," says Nix, adding that it all happened very fast.
"He must've hit the brake there just before it swallowed me," he adds.
Nix was eventually taken to the hospital and went to a specialist the following day, was bruised and scraped up badly and also suffered hip cartilage injuries and neck whiplash. He still has more tests to be done and since has developed pains in his shoulder. But immediately after the crash, he remained on the ground.
"I was just laying there.... Thank God, the wheels didn't go over me," he says. His teammates, part of the Groove Subaru-Alpha Bicycle team, came over to help him.
He didn't even check to see if he was doing all right, says Nix, who was in a confused daze at that point.
"Anytime you fall down on your bike, it's always a shock...but this was just so surreal," he says. "I wasn't angry at that point. I was more in shock.... You never expect to get hit by a car and hope that you never will."
Continue for Andrew Hoover's side of the story and more photos from the scene of the accident.