When Adam Sohn came upon an accident scene on Oakland Park Boulevard yesterday afternoon, he saw a messed-up bicycle and an injured man on the ground. He took a few pictures and posted them to the Facebook page for Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass -- a movement of cyclists who get together for a group bike ride once a month in protest of car culture and in celebration of bikes.
It was only after he posted it that he realized: The injured man was Critical Mass ride leader Ray Strack.
(Well, technically, Critical Mass is "leaderless," but he's usually the guy in front setting the route at the rides.)
Sohn, who has met Strack at rides but doesn't know him well, said in an email:
I came upon accident a few minutes after it happened before the emergency services arrived. I wanted to take an image and more importantly also wanted to stay out of everybody's way as the group looked like they were doing a good job tending to him and the emergency vehicles were still not at the scene. I didn't know it was Ray until after I posted the image to the Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass Facebook page. One man was holding the towels to his head stopping the blood. Ray was wringing with pain and he looked conscious. Other members of the group of people around him were calming him. It looked like a couple people were trying to prevent him from moving around which in hind sight was the very right thing to do because according to a Facebook post he suffered a back injury.
Strack was taken to the emergency room, where he was treated for fracture of the T9 vertebrae in his back and several deep cuts in his head. He had several staples and stitches put in his head.
Strack's daughter Emily Denise-Mairéad Strack told New Times that he had been going westbound on the bridge "when he was hit from behind. The driver was a young man around 20; my dad said he didn't even sense any danger. He blacked out, doesn't remember anything. He's in pain but in good spirits." She said he would remain in the hospital for a few days.
Emily told supporters on Facebook: "The first thing he said to me was, 'I'm pretty fucked up, huh?' So his sense of humor is intact... unluckily they had to shave off part of his signature long hair... He's not too happy about that. Your love & support is amazing. Thank you all. He can feel all the positive vibes! Wear your helmet, it saved his life!"
Bike advocacy group the Green Mobility Network has called South Florida "one of the most dangerous places in the country for bicyclists and pedestrians."
We're getting the police report and will have more on this in the coming days.
Send story tips to Deirdra.Funcheon@BrowardPalmBeach.com
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