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Accidents happen, too often for bicyclist McAnarney in Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Pratt Police Sgt. Ed Gimple (middle) stands by as Pratt EMS responder Bill Hampton talks with accident victim Dan McAnarney  after his bicylce was hit by a car last Wednesday in Pratt.

Feeling frustrated with inattentive drivers and police actions in Pratt, bicyclist and resident Dan McAnarney simply sat down near the intersection of South Main and Fourth streets after an accident on October 14 and refused to move. Just after 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, a car hit the back tire of his bicycle causing him to wreck. He refused to move for several hours, finally taking to the curb and sidewalk to stage a protest despite cold wind and dropping temperatures.

"It wasn't much fun," McAnarney said. "I just wanted to get a signed statement from the police that I could leave and wouldn't get a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident. That happened a couple of years ago. The longer I sat there the more angry I became. Riding my bicycle in and around Pratt used to bring me a lot of joy. It was my favorite thing to do. But now, I feel like I am getting harassed, people run into me when I have the right-of-way. I'm thinking about just putting my bike away and never riding again."

According to Pratt Police Officer Sgt. Ed Gimple, who responded to the to call for help when the accident occurred, McAnarney wasn't breaking any rules by staging his own solitary protest at that intersection last week, as long as he stayed out of the street. He said it was an unfortunate series of events that led to McAnarney's predicament, but he, and other officers on the scene, did everything they could to diffuse the situation. They allowed McAnarney to protest on the sidewalk of the intersection after forcibly moving him from the center of W. Fourth Street.

The official police report showed that McAnarney was riding his bicycle west on Fourth Street, when a silver Ford Focus car, driven by David Gibson of Pratt, made a right turn on red from South Main Street onto W. Fourth Street. 

Gibson's car ran into the back tire of McAnarney's bicycle, causing him to be thrown up into the air and land hard on the brick roadway. He had some lacerations on one leg and the bicycle was damaged with a bend rear tire rim and broken frame.

"I spoke to the driver and he said he just didn't see the bicycle until it was too late to stop," Gimple said. "With the cars and trucks parked along the street on the north side of Fourth like they are, there just isn't much room for a bicycle to ride without the danger of impeding traffic."

For McAnarney, it was just another painful occurrence that reminded him of at least five other painful bicycle crashes he has been part of in the past few years.

"I've had problems riding at Lemon Park, I've had a guy put his truck in reverse so that he could run over me, I've been given a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident when there was no one else around and I was the victim of the accident," McAnarney said. "I guess it was all just too much and I was very angry about all of it."

Though McAnarney stayed at the scene of the Wednesday wreck through the night into Thursday, he said he did not feel the situation was resolved. He did not get a written statement like he wanted, though he was verbally assured he would not be ticketed for the accident.

"I just don't feel the police are ticketing people properly according to bicycle rules of the road," McAnarney said. "I have found that the safest place for me to ride my bike is on First Street to get around town. There's a lot of traffic there, but at least everyone has to stop at the stop signs and street lights. Elsewhere in town they just don't stop. Drivers here just don't pay attention to bicycles. They don't give them the space and the right-of-way they are able to have, by law."

McAnarney said he did appreciate that he wasn't given a ticket for obstructing justice, and he appreciated the fact that the district attorney stopped by to see him on Wednesday evening, and City Chief of Police Nate Humble came out and visited him on Thursday morning.

"I stayed out there from the time of the accident all through the night and until 10 a.m. the next day," McAnarney said. "A kid came by and found me a blanket from the dumpster behind the thrift shop, so at least I had that. It got really cold and I am really sore."

McAnarney refused medical treatment at the time of the accident but said he did go to the emergency room the next day.

"I have an artificial hip bone," he said. "It could take some time, but I may have messed that up. I have to make an appointment with my doctor to find out if I broke off some of those pieces that hold it together. I'm just still really angry about why I just can't ride my bicycle in peace around here."

Officer Gimple said that no citations were issued as a result of the bicycle-car accident that took place on October 14, 2020.