, was riding his bike south on Spring Grove on May 20 around 1 p.m. when he encountered an ongoing headache for cyclists.
“There’s a stretch right in between Northside and Camp Washington where the bike lane’s closed on Spring Grove due to construction that’s been ongoing for like the last two years,” he said. “It’s not the entire part, but there’s a bit and it’s confusing and there’s a sign that tells you to cross the street.”
Dylan took the sign to mean cyclists should cross over to the other side of Spring Grove and ride in the opposite bike lane that points north, which is what he did when he collided with a car he claims rolled through the Ethan Avenue stop sign.
“A car was pulling out on Spring Grove,” he said. “He rolled through the stop sign and that’s how I got hit.”
Photo: Madeline Fening
Dylan told CityBeat that a car turning right on Spring Grove from Ethan Avenue hit him when the car rolled through the stop sign.
Dylan said the construction stopped a couple blocks before Ethan Avenue where he got hit, but he didn’t yet have a “reasonable option” to cross back over the busy four-lane thoroughfare to the south bike lane.
Once he collided with the car, he regretted not wearing a helmet that day.
“My head was bleeding. Blood was filling up in my left eye. I was freaking out,” Dylan said. “I was not wearing a helmet. That was on me.”
The driver called for an ambulance, which arrived with police. Dylan said the officer told him he wouldn't have to pay for the damage to the car, but that he was at fault for the crash and would receive a citation because he was traveling in the wrong bike lane. The crash report does not include details about the driver allegedly rolling through the stop sign.
Dylan said he tried to explain to the officer why he was riding in the opposite bike lane.
"He didn't seem to understand or care," Dylan said. "I couldn't even exchange info with [the driver] because the cop was arguing with me. At a certain point, he just got out and they slammed the ambulance door."
Judi LoPresti, co-owner of Spun Bicycles in Northside, acted as the first responder for Dylan's bike. When Dylan left the hospital and brought his "toast" bicycle to LoPresti's shop, he told her why the officer cited him and not the driver.
"That's kind of out of hand," LoPresti told CityBeat. "The cyclist is on the ground; he's bloody; he's going to the emergency room. I mean, you would respond with a little bit of empathy."
Between a rock and the wrong lane
LoPresti said she's seeing more and more bikes like Dylan's as cyclists in Northside and Camp Washington are getting mixed signals from the signage on Spring Grove.
“The city let us down because there’s construction and there’s no clarification on that signage,” LoPresti said. “I talk to these people every day. I see people in the bike lane all the time going in the wrong direction, but it’s something that they think they have to do to stay safe and get to their destination safely without getting hit by a car. The Spring Grove construction is a huge problem for cyclists just trying to commute on a big route.”
LoPresti took her frustrations to Twitter to share Dylan's story.
Dylan believes he had no other choice but to be in the opposite bike lane due to construction. He wants answers from CPD for cyclists who are stuck weaving in and out of construction all over the city.
Police urge cyclists to follow the rules of the road
CityBeat reached out to Cincinnati Police for comment on the crash and how cyclists should manage the construction detour on Spring Grove. Lt. Jonathan Cunningham told CityBeat the rules for cyclists apply the same to Spring Grove as they do the rest of the city – ride in the road if you don’t have a bike lane.
“It’s a very unique case,” Cunningham said. “If the luxury of having a bicycle lane is not available, then I’m still required to operate on the roadway and follow the necessary rules and regulations.”
Dylan said it’s not so easy to simply ride in the road when construction debris scatters beyond the construction zone and reduces the common thoroughfare to one lane.
Photo: Madeline Fening
Bike riders are forced to share a single southbound lane along ongoing construction projects on Spring Grove.
“You do have to do that sometimes; you have to just ride to the left of the construction in the road,” Dylan said. “But what sucks about that is a variety of things. One being that that particular strip is just absolutely littered with massive amounts of broken glass, and you’re competing with cars in a lane where they can’t pass you at all.”
The stretch of construction just blocks north of Ethan Avenue has wrapped up since the crash, which Dylan said was "a long time coming," but the southbound bike lane is still blocked by orange barrels between Elmore Street and Millcreek Road.
A fresh fix
LoPresti’s tweets about Dylan’s crash inspired one unnamed donor to pay $300 to repair the bike’s wheel, fork and frame.
“We were able to save the bike,” LoPresti said. “We surprised him.”
Dylan is healing and waiting on CT scans to make sure the damage from the crash wasn’t more severe than the stitches and bleeding he experienced that day. He said the crash will live in the back of his mind as he continues to ride his bike, especially down Spring Grove.
“It’s going to be in the back of my mind for a long time. I’ll be a little apprehensive to ride,” he said. “Spring Grove is one place where I wish there was a lot more of a bike-friendly atmosphere.”