Alleged bike-rage incident pits Byron Nix against Herbert Hoover's grandson

Bike accident thumb.jpg
Big photos below.
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.

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.

Byron Nix accident 7.jpg
All photos courtesy of Byron Nix
The scene of the accident on Sunday in Deer Creek Canyon
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.

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.

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He says Hoover then got out of the truck, then "grabbed the bike and threw it off to the side of the road, as if he was gonna take off."

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.



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24 comments
dontbemad
dontbemad

If they get hurt-so what!! Its really bad in Kansas City-I get so tired of these idiots riding their bike during freaking rush hour on busy streets; It's really bad in the Waldo area-If you do that stupid crap-you deserve to get hit!!

Mike
Mike

I've driven on mountain roads with dozens of cyclists.  It really isn't a problem. If the road has lots of curves and blind spots, you shouldn't be driving that fast anyway. And as for riding single file, if there isn't enough width for a bike and a car to be side by side with 3 feet to spare, then what's the difference if there are 2 or 3 riding abreast?  I'd rather that 12 people were riding 2 abreast than single file. It would be easier and faster to pass a line of 6 than a line of 12.  Use your common sense people, rather than gripe about bikes just for the sake of finding something to gripe about. If you have to wait for a minute, then so what? If you don't have 15 seconds to a minute to spare, then you probably left too late anyway.  As for car drivers paying for roads with their registrations, that's laughable. Have you seen the costs associated with road building? You wouldn't even get out of town with what you pay. And if you want to be picky like that, then quit driving in my neighborhood until you start paying the specials for the roads that we built. Go another step, and you'll find that some states charge fees based on the weight of the vehicle (due to the damage they can do.) How much damage do you think a bike does to a road?

We can all get along together on the road. Get mad at the people that actually are a menace on the roads, whether they are in cars or on bikes. Look at it introspectively. What if it were your wife, mother or daughter riding that bike? Maybe the true menace is really you?!

Moots
Moots

There really needs to be a bike lane built and marked all the way up High-Grade to the park because this stretch of road is heavily used by cyclists and cars.  Over the years I have seen many close calls, unfortunate accident.

 

Take the road less traveled or get on your Mountain Bike !

jwarhammer
jwarhammer

I think one or both of them are lying about the situation - most likely the bike rider.  If Hoover was back there honking for "at least 30 seconds", why didn't Nix move back into the "single file"? That should have been plenty of time (and motivation) for him to merge back into the group.  I've ridden this road dozens of times and have never had problems with cars.   I've not once heard cars honking - even when idiots are riding 2 or even 3 abreast, which unfortunately seems to be the norm in groups greater than 1.  I've had to pass these riders sometimes and kindly remind them to ride single file.  With 12 people in the group I'd be willing to bet they weren't riding single file. Even with no shoulder, there's plenty of room for a car to (slowly) pass a single-file rider without sliding into the oncoming lane - I've seen it a lot.

david.carpenter08
david.carpenter08

Cyclists do pay taxes. We do own cars. We do drive plus we pay for all you morons that aren't active because our insurance premiums are higher because if in active people. Want to regulate bikes? Fine you're just asking for an even fatter America...as if its not fat enough already! By the way cyclists tend to follow the laws just as well as motorists. Oh and one last thing, I find it interesting that drivers have no problem moving out of the way for tractors. Cyclists usually average the same speed as a tractor. If you can wait for a tractor you can wait for a cyclist.

phatherphoton
phatherphoton

Any guesses as to which way this dick voted?

Vic Shayne
Vic Shayne

I don't know what happened in this incident, but in general I can say that cyclists have become more belligerent in that they ride in the car lanes without concern for a driver's right to the road. I've run into this a dozen times over the year. I've also had cyclists pull into my lane without warning. If possible, I'll give them a wide berth and move over, but if there is oncoming traffic, or over a hill, or around a curve, it is not possible to swing into the other lane. Cyclists need to learn the rules of the road as much as drivers do.

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

Maybe it should not be legal to ride on some of the mtn roads like the Morrison road where clearly their is barely room for cars to avoid hitting much less leave room to get around bikes? Many of these roads also have rocks falling and warn drivers to stay as far over as they can but their is little space.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

No More Free Rides for Bicyclists !!

 

It's time for MANDATORY Bicycle Registration and Taxes!

 

Mandatory License Plates for Bicycles!

 

Mandatory Liability Insurance for all Bicyclist who operate on PUBLIC roadways!

 

Regulation Works !!

 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Mike  "I've driven on mountain roads with dozens of cyclists.  It really isn't a problem"

 

Well then, who knew the solution could be so simple?

 

Everybody Drive Like Mike -- No Problem.

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Moots  And TAX the Bicyclists to PAY FOR that Special Use Lane!

 

 

mike1936
mike1936

 @jwarhammer YOU jwarhammer are a danger with your attitude! The rider was in the process of falling into single file and the Hoover lost his patience and decided it was taking too long. He wanted to teach the riders a lesson, like you seem to want to do! The riders were obeying the law - drivers are allowed to enter the oncoming lane to pass cyclists now - as the law states. YOU have a serious attitude problem - making you a hazard to everyone on the road around you.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @david.carpenter08  -- Tractors pay ROAD USE TAXES, bicycles do not.

 

Tractors and other vehicles pay for and display License Plates, bicycles do not.

 

Tractors and other vehicles must have Mandatory Liability Insurance, bicycles do not.

 

All Vehicle Operators must have Driver's Licenses and obey the laws of the road, bicycles do not.

 

It's time to end the Free Ride for Cyclists -- no more Special Rights!

 

-- Mandatory Bicycle Registration, Taxes and Fees for all bikes operated on Public Roads

 

-- Mandatory License Plates for all bikes operated on Public Roads

 

-- Mandatory Liability Insurance for all bikes operated on Public Roads

 

 

hth.

 

 

cyclist
cyclist

The driver?  Yeah, Obama.

Asdf
Asdf

@DonkeyHotay @Moots First let's raise the gas tax to cover existing road infrastructure costs and military spending in the middle east. I'm talking about the real money that subsidizes drivers.

jwarhammer
jwarhammer

 @mike1936  @jwarhammer Wow, really?  Where in my post did you pick up a "serious attitude problem"? Perhaps you should take a good look at your reply and see who's got the attitude. I am a cyclist. I ride on the roads. Lanes are wide enough for cars to provide 3 feet without crossing over the center line.  Did I say cars shouldn't cross over? No. When it's safe, they should.  I do.  What I said is there's room if both the riders and drivers are behaving responsibly.  When I ride in a group and a car is approaching - from either direction - the person sliding to the rear always gets in wherever he is at the time and continues his position change when it passes.  Have a look at the series Portlandia - your attitude greatly reminds me of the bikers' rights character.

david.carpenter08
david.carpenter08

@DonkeyHotay That's interesting because tractors don't display plates nor do farm implements towed by tractors display plates. Oh and children can operate farm machinery without a license. You're a ignorant fool! Do some research! It's better to keep your mouth shut and be assumed a fool than open your mouth a prove it! Go suck a fat one!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @david.carpenter08  You really are an abject ignoramus, aren't you David?

 

Tractors -- as in Tractor Trailers -- that operate on Public Roadways ARE required to display license plates, as are the trailers they tow. And they pay BIG $$$ for license fees and road use taxes.

 

And children can NOT operate farm machinery on PUBLIC ROADWAYS, you daft dipshit.

 

No wonder you're restricted to riding a bicycle -- probably a tricycle -- since you're too clueless to be trusted behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Kevins_Mom
Kevins_Mom

@david.carpenter08 Is your bike a farm implement?

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