A driver hit former Dallas Mavericks center Shawn Bradley while he was riding a bike near his Utah home in January 2021.
Injury from the accident caused the 7-foot-6-inch tall athlete to be paralyzed from the chest down.
Sports Illustrated profiled Bradley recently, in a story that gives details of the accident — he swung out to avoid being doored by a parked car and was hit by a Dodge minivan — and his recovery.
The crash didn’t kill him, but it’s likely to shorten his life, the magazine reported. And his size has been a challenge for the hospitals and rehab centers treating him.
Last fall, Bradley worked five days a week at grueling physical therapy at Baylor Scott & White with the goal of moving himself from his chair to his bed and back without assistance.
Besides the physical pain, the injury is expected to cost millions of dollars over his lifetime.
The former athlete lost a sense of himself with the loss of physical abilities, the magazine reports, but he’s now focused on bike safety.
From the story, by Brian Burnsed:
As he strains to improve himself, Bradley is determined to find a means of helping others. Educating the masses about bike safety is a priority: More than 800 Americans die in bike crashes involving motor vehicles every year. (Last May, a fellow 7-footer and Utahan, 64-year-old Mark Eaton, who played 11 seasons with the Jazz, died after a bike crash, but no vehicle was involved in his accident.) What’s more, roughly 300,000 Americans are currently living with severe spinal cord injuries.
He and his wife Carrie plan to move out of their home in Utah, which was custom designed for a 7-foot-6 person but not wheelchairs, and relocate to the Dallas area.
Dallas traffic is terrible. Road rage is a problem, and our city is notoriously unsafe for pedestrians.
Here’s what the City of Dallas says about driving with bikes:
- Bicyclists have legal access to the roadway and must obey stop signs, traffic lights, traffic laws and signs.
- Special care must be used near bicyclists because any accident with them will probably result in serious injury.
- Automobile drivers should leave safe passing room. If you are not sure you have enough room to pass, don’t.
- When turning, allow enough room so the bicyclist is not in danger of being hit.
- Bicyclists can legally move to the left lane to turn left, pass another vehicle or bicycle, or avoid debris or parked cars.
- Bicyclists may have to swerve to avoid a car door suddenly opening, glass, storm grates, dogs and other hazards on the road.
- When the lane is too narrow to pass a bicyclist safely, wait until the next lane is clear and give the bicyclist all the rights of any other slow moving vehicle.
- A motorist parked at a curb must not open a door on the traffic side of a vehicle without looking for other vehicles, including bicycles or motorcycles.
- Bicycle riders may give right turn signals with their right arm held straight out or pointing right. Bicycles are small and sometimes drivers do not see them.
- Do not honk at bicyclists. Loud noise may startle the bicyclist and cause them to move into the lane of traffic.
In Bradley’s accident, he was trying to avoid being doored. That scenario is why you should always open your car door with the opposite hand. That’s also known as “the Dutch reach.” Watch explanation below.