Mike Poe, president of the Northeast Alabama Bicycling Association, said he received an email Monday from a teammate of David Carpenter, 22, who said the biker was released from the hospital and “in good spirits.”
Carpenter suffered scrapes on his face and was bleeding from the ear after an accident on Cottaquilla Road near Alabama 9 during Sunday’s Foothills Classic bike race, Poe said. Poe said when he arrived on the scene Sunday, Carpenter was conscious but showing signs of short-term memory loss and was airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.
Carpenter’s teammate told Poe in the email the biker had stitches, but “is already talking about getting back on his bike.”
Race officials said they weren’t sure what exactly happened in the accident, but Poe said witnesses said a black dog ran into the street causing the collision. Poe said when he returned to the scene Sunday afternoon to retrieve a sweatshirt, a man who lived nearby said he believed the dog was a stray.
Poe said a Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office deputy at the scene tried to locate the dog and possibly write a citation for an owner.
Attempts Monday to reach the Sheriff’s Office were unsuccessful.
Poe said race directors try to alert residents in the area when cyclists might be coming through, but they aren’t always successful in reaching every household along the 45-mile route.
“It’s something we might consider doing in the future,” Poe said. “That’s a lot of time and effort on our part, and I’m not saying it isn’t worth doing.”
Curtis Cupp, the race’s director, said for the most part, the Foothills Classic doesn’t go through areas known to have a lot of dogs. He said just days before the race he rode through the area on Cottaquilla Road and didn’t see any dogs, stray or otherwise.
Cupp said race officials would be unlikely to pursue any criminal charges if the dog had an owner, but said riders often make complaints to law enforcement officials about wild animals. He said, personally, he hasn’t seen a lot of results.
“Dogs chasing you is just part of biking,” said Cupp, who once broke a collarbone while trying to avoid colliding with a dog. “Locally, you kind of know where to ride and where there are dogs.”
A large stray population is representative of a larger problem in much of the south, said Tom Nelson, a veterinarian at Animal Medical Center in Anniston, and an avid cyclist. Nelson said in rural areas of the country, where communities are more spread out, animals have areas to hide and live away from busy streets. Tracking stray animals throughout the county can be a difficult task, Nelson said.
In accidents involving dogs and cyclists, Nelson said, it’s often the rider who gets the worst of it.
“Sometimes an animal will have a broken leg or a cracked rib,” he said. “In riders I’ve seen dislocated shoulders, concussions, broken bones, you name it.”
Star Staff Writer Eddie Burkhlater contributed reporting. Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.