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Man, 55, in coma after bike accident

Robyn Moormeister

Grass Valley police are urging bicyclists to wear their helmets after a 55-year-old man without a helmet fell off his bike at Condon Park and suffered a serious head injury.

At 5:08 p.m. Thursday, a caller from Minnie Street at Brighton Street reported a bicyclist was lying in the entry area at the park, bleeding profusely.

Witnesses told police that the man, Harley Freed, fell from his bike and there was no vehicle involved in the accident, Grass Valley Police Capt. Dave Remillard said.

A helicopter landed in the ballfield and took Freed to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Freed was in a coma Thursday night, according to police logs.

Hospital spokeswoman Robin Montgomery said Friday that Freed was in critical condition.

While there are no laws that require bicyclists to wear helmets, Remillard said, common sense dictates riders should protect themselves.

“It’s always a good idea to wear a helmet,” said Grass Valley Police Capt. Dave Remillard. “I always wear mine.”

This happens to be helmet safety week, he said.


To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.

Bicycle safety

According to statistics compiled by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute:

• There are 85 million bicycle riders in the United States.

• 784 bicyclists died on U.S. roads in 2005 and 92 percent of them (720) died in crashes with motor vehicles.

• About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year. Of those, about 67,000 have head injuries, and 27,000 have injuries serious enough to be hospitalized.

• Bicycle crashes and injuries are under-reported, since the majority are not serious enough for emergency room visits.

• One in eight of the cyclists with reported injuries has a brain injury.

• Two-thirds of the deaths here are from traumatic brain injury.

• A very high percentage of cyclists’ brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet, estimated at anywhere from 45 to 88 percent.

• Many years of potential life are lost because about half of the deaths are children under 15 years old.

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