Dr. John Kramer knows "how quickly it can all go badly" after he and his family witnessed an accident while riding bikes a year ago on the Wheeling Heritage Trail.
It was a sunny day and Kramer's friend, Brian Joseph, an avid cyclist, was riding with the Kramer family. Joseph briefly veered off into the grass and, when he attempted to ride back onto the asphalt, his front wheel caught. He was thrown off his bike into the air and landed on the hard trail surface. When Kramer reached Joseph, he was unconscious even though he had been wearing a helmet.
"It was a hard impact," Joseph said. "I started to stand up and I remember John yelling at me to lay down. I was hurting a lot but didn't realize, so next thing I know I wake up and I had been unconscious."
Photo by Sarah Harmon
Dr. John Kramer, from left, R. “Scat” Scatterday, Micah Kramer and Kristina Kramer pose on Wheeling’s Heritage Trail. Dr. Kramer donated funding for trail mile markers, which were installed last week.
Kramer yelled to his wife, Kristina, to call 911. She did and informed responders that they were on the bike trail. They asked her, "Where on the bike trail?"
Kristina was new to the area and did not know. But the ambulance eventually found them, and Joseph was in hospitalized and in intensive care for several days.
"Bicycle accidents can be really nasty. It's not about how competent you are as much as it's about unexpected things," Joseph said. "I'm a rider and have ridden a lot, but stuff just happens."
When Kramer heard that R. "Scat" Scatterday was planning a project to put mile markers along the trail, Kramer knew the markers would help ensure the safety of the community. The mile markers, which were installed last week, are located every 0.2 mile along the Heritage Trail's 11-mile stretch and inform trail users of their exact location. Kramer is one of three community members who made donations toward the project.
"Scat had told me maybe a month ago about general projects for the trail. Then he said they were looking for money to put the mile markers in, and then that got myself and my wife thinking that it'd potentially be a project for us because we use it and we use it all the time," Kramer said. "It's about safety for and wellness for our community. So it seemed like the right thing for us to do."
"My reaction to that particular thing is similar to what I hear from time to time from other so-called 'John Kramers.' Somehow they get it, step up and say, 'This is my trail, I want to be a part of it and therefore I want to do this,'" Scatterday said.