Cycling Victim Paralyzed

Riding your bicycle means taking on certain risks. That’s why cyclists wear helmets and often reflective attire if they’ll be out at night. However, some risks are largely outside what a cyclist can reasonably be expected to control. We’re talking, of course, about people around them, especially motorists. While most cyclists know to keep their heads on a swivel, there’s only so much that will do, especially in San Diego where bicycles and vehicles regularly share roadways.

Unfortunately, even when a motorist is the one in the wrong, the cyclist is generally the one who pays the bigger price. That same story played out recently on Fiesta Island when Juan Carlos Vinolo, 49, found himself in the path of a motorist who should have never been behind the wheel in the first place.

This past Tuesday, Theresa Lynn Owens, 49, was arrested for driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance. Before she could be stopped and later charged, however, she drove through some 30 bicyclists, most of who are members of the San Diego Bicycle Club.

Upon seeing the vehicle coming toward them, Vinolo quickly took action and pushed the leader of the group, the man in front of him, out of the way. This act of heroism has cost him dearly, however. Owens not only hit Vinolo, but left him paralyzed. At least nine other cyclists were also injured and sent to the hospital with everything from cuts on their faces to bruised ribs.

Although Owens has been charged and is in custody with a $300,000 bail, Vinolo and the rest of his fellow injured bikers should consider hiring an attorney to ensure their rights are looked after. For one, there will obviously be plenty of hospital bills to consider and, at least for Vinolo, a number of changes to his life he’ll need to spend money on.