A deaf and blind bicyclist touring in the United States has returned to his home country of Norway to recover after being struck from behind by a motorist.
The cyclist — Harald Vik, 71 — was riding in the stoker position on a tandem bicycle when the collision occurred near Sioux Falls,
Iowa South Dakota, last month. It was the second day of a tandem bicycle trip from Brookings, South Dakota, to Lincoln, Nebraska.
Vik is an inspiration for many disabled people in Norway. He was born deaf and began losing his sight at age 10. In spite of these complications, he continues to lead an active life.
For instance, he has ridden a tandem across the US as well as 50 other countries. He also skis and has participated in the New York Marathon some 20 times.
He arrived in the US in August for the tour on the tandem, led by his interpreter, Kent Moore, in the pilot seat.
According to the Argus Leader, he had just started out on the day’s ride when his tandem was struck from behind by a Jeep driven by Melvin Louis Coelho, 70. Vik suffered a broken pelvis along with injuries to his leg and arms.
Vik is still confined to a wheelchair, but already is making plans to return to the US next year. He is raising money at GoFundMe.com to make the trip next year.
Another collision about the same time last month claimed the life of foreign visitor who was on a long-distance bicycle tour of the US.
Paul J. Dupont, 70, of Brussels, was traveling on a Highway 85 in Wyoming when a pickup driven by a 34-year-old Cheyenne man drifted onto the shoulder and struck Dupont from behind, according to news reports.. He was declared dead at the scene.
The driver was charged with reckless driving and failing to maintain a single lane of travel. Driver fatigue and improper lane use are being investigated as contributing factors in the crash, according to a press release from the Wyoming Highway Patrol.