It's been a year since Dean Davis' life changed. On July 7, 2015, he was seriously injured while riding his bicycle on a rural McLean County road. He swerved into a ditch at about 20 miles per hour trying to avoid hitting a car that had stopped suddenly in front of him.
After recuperating from shoulder and back injuries and surgery, he finally rode his bike again this spring. He has ridden six times in the past year.
In a Sound Ideas interview, Davis said getting back on a bike is not easy.
"There's never been a time that I hop on my bike those six times where I'm not thinking about where the cars are and what they're going to do," said Davis. "I always try to be safe."
Davis said he never had any interaction with motorists while cycling before the incident last year. He said, for that reason, he never had the wariness he does now.
"It's different now, getting on the bike," he added.
Three bicyclists were killed within 24 hours in the San Francisco area last month when they were struck by motor vehicles. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, five cyclists lost their lives when a man, now accused of drugged driving, struck them on June 7. According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 726 people were killed when their bikes were struck by vehicles during 2014. This is a major increase from three years earlier, when 682 cyclists died.
Davis said he's not sure why there's seemingly been a spike in bike vs. vehicle incidents.
"I think there are more cyclists, and the tragic accidents are getting more media attention," Davis said.
The criminal trial against the man charged in connection with the incident that injured Davis a year ago ended in a mistrial on the felony charges, while there was an acquittal on a lesser charge not involving Davis' injuries. A re-trial is expected to begin next month, and Davis has a civil case pending.