Safety Saves.

The last 24 hours have been upsetting, terrifying, shocking, anger-inducing, and all kinds of other descriptors I’m too tired to list. Late yesterday afternoon, my husband Jim was riding his bike down a country road in west Knoxville, Tennessee when he was hit by some kind of vehicle.

We’re not sure if it was a car or a truck because whomever hit him just kept on driving. They kept on driving.

He or she drove off, leaving my husband on the side of the road. He was unresponsive when someone else happened to drive by and notice him lying there. That someone happened to be the pilot of one of those Angel Flight helicopters, just driving into town for his shift. He started caring for Jim and sometime in there another Good Samaritan named Allan stopped to assist while they waited for the ambulance.

Allan was the one who was on the other end of the most terrifying call I’ve ever answered, telling me that Jim was hurt and the ambulance was on its way. Being in Chicago I have never felt so helpless in my life. I put my sister, who’s in Knoxville, in touch with him so she could get the logistics and I commenced hand-wringing as she and my parents met Jim’s parents at the hospital. I took the first flight out this morning to get to his side.

Jim Melisa hands

Jim has a concussion and he’s going to be fine, eventually. We are so lucky. BEYOND lucky. It’s miraculous, really, and there’s one thing kept this story from having a very different ending: his helmet. Thank goodness, Jim has always been a stickler for bike safety. We ALWAYS wear helmets, no excuses. If he hadn’t been wearing his helmet today, I can’t even type out what I might have been doing instead of writing this blog post, and I’m thankful. BEYOND thankful.

His eventual complete physical healing (yay) aside, it’s going to take a long time for us to get over this emotionally and mentally. I am so angry right now. How could someone hit another person with their vehicle and keep going? (I know there is a chance that the person was intoxicated, of course.) The idea of my husband’s body sprawled out on the side of the road is something that will haunt me for ages.

So that helmet. Let’s talk about it. Do you wear a helmet when you ride your bike? Do you make your kids wear one? I have seen way too many adults and children ride sans helmets and I never understood that, but now that I have personal experience with the protection a helmet provides, I understand neglecting to wear one even less. PLEASE take safety precautions seriously: wear a helmet and make your kids wear helmets too.

bike helmet after

Let’s talk about something else that Jim was wearing that helped us out a whole lot today: an ID necklace. His happens to be made by Crashtag but there are all different brands out there. (This is not sponsored!)

Jim’s Crashtag has his ICE (in case of emergency) numbers on it, his blood type, allergies, birthdate, and of course his name and city. Because he was wearing this necklace, Allan was able to quickly find my number and give me a call. If you are a cyclist or a runner or someone who participates in any other sport that takes you away from people you know, you need to have something on your person that can help a bystander identify you and, when necessary, reach out to loved ones.

Of course, the phone is still a good option. Make sure you put ICE numbers in so that a rescuer can find them. (In my phone, Jim is listed under ICE.) If you have an iPhone, you can also open up your Health app and set up emergency information so that, if you lock your phone, a rescuer can click “emergency” on the lock screen and make a phone call to your primary emergency contact.

I cannot express how important it is that you take a few minutes to set yourself up with safety measures. Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. Even you. Or you. Or him. Or her. Or them. ANYONE, ANYWHERE. Please be safe. Your loved ones will appreciate it.


  • Christina

    I’m so glad his injuries are temporary and he’ll be okay! And I’m furious on your behalf that a driver would hit him and not stop to assist. I wear a bracelet when I go running that has my name, blood type, etc. along with my ICE contacts. I have bracelets for the kids when we go out to places with lots of people, too, just in case they get lost.

    I hope he heals quickly!

  • Amy

    I am so glad your husband is okay Melisa. I can’t imagine being in another state.

    I have just updated my ICE in my phone–

    and helmets. As Facebook would say, it’s complicated. Uncomplicating things: we’re wearing them.

  • Andrea Bates

    Oh my goodness. No words. Thank G-d for all the things. The helmet. The helpful people. Holy. And I am so mad with you. Angry. Who DOES that? Thinking of you and I’ll keep your husband in my thoughts.

  • Momo

    I just keep saying, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you that Jim is okay, that you’re there with him, that he was wearing that necklace, that there was family nearby, that someone saw him and helped.” As for that driver…not so much.

  • Kathleen Buckley

    I am so thankful that you and Jim are such good, mature, responsible grown ups. It saved his life. You are so smart. And now you are going to use those smarts to remind other people to be the same way. Love that about you, Melisa. You use your superpowers for good everytime. He’s going to be okay, so just keep on loving him ❤️ You be okay too.

  • Julie Ross Godar

    I am so glad he’s okay and you were able to get there quickly! And YES to the helmet. I see people without them more and more and just don’t get it!

  • Angela Y

    Oh my goodness! I am so sorry. How scary. I’m so glad he will be okay but know you both must be feeling. Sending you both love and hugs.

  • Jenn

    I’m thankful he’s okay. I’m thankful you got to him. I’m thankful for the helmet. And for the driver that hit him and drove off? I’m thankful for karma.

  • Mom24_4evermom

    I’m so thankful he’s going to be all right. My brother was killed by a hit and run driver, I understand.

  • Liz

    And leave it to you to turn this horrible experience around and help others be mindful of their safety. I love you guys. Hit and run drivers, not even a little bit.

  • Patricia

    This happened to me while riding along on a training ride 2 weeks before the Aids Ride from Boston to New York. I was far from home as I was on a century ride that day. But I had “ICE” inform in the bag on my bike. Otherwise, no one would have known who I was. I wound up with a broken wrist, a broken elbow, smashed face and a minor concussion. But it took 6 months to be able to use my hands and arms. And I have a crooked smile and chin and scars. But my brain was ok and for that I am thankful. Your post is so on point and should be shared.

  • rebecca

    im a runner…there is also a company that makes bracelets, shoe tags, its called ROAD ID. i have one on my shoe and never leave home without it. it can save you life

  • alexandra

    Oh, Melisa. I am so sorry. In tears while I read this. Grateful JIm is fine but overcome with the thought of someone leaving him just, there. Prayers to you friend. all my prayers.

  • Lindsay

    Wow! We are so happy to hear that Jim is doing OK. Lots of positive healing thoughts coming your way! Thank you for the tips Paul and I often like to go on long bike rides. We wear our helmets, but crash tags sound like an excellent idea!

    • Melisa Wells

      Yes! Either that or a ROAD ID bracelet. Had to cancel my float for tomorrow since I’m in TN but you’ll probably see me twice the week after next. 🙂

      (Hi to Paul!)

  • Joan

    I’m so sorry this happened to Jim. I am so happy to hear he is going to okay. I’m also glad that he had good Samaritans to help him out. I am appalled by the driver who left him there, intoxicated or not. Thank you for the safety tips. It’s something I’m going to take to heart, especially with my grandson. Prayers and good thoughts are winging your way. Take care.

  • Eileen Jourdan Thompson

    {I’m Mom to Pete and Liz Thompson}
    Just wanted to add my prayers for you all to heal quickly, both physically and emotionally.
    I know you are strong people but hopefully all the prayers and best wishes from all your family and friends will move the process along. Hugs.
    Sincerely, Eileen

  • Kizz

    I will chime in with Walking the Dog. I have a Road ID bracelet with this sort of info on it and I got it because I am one of many people who just run out to walk the dog and don’t talk anything else with them.

    I’m so glad that Jim is on the mend and that good people were there to help him.

  • Patty

    Melisa, I am just reading this post and the Facebook posts. I am so sorry to read about your husbands accident. Sending lots of love and prayers your way. xoxo

  • Sadiya

    My goodness, Melisa! I am happy to hear Jim is okay. Motorists watching for pedestrians is a concern that should be revisited here, in Raleigh, N.C., as well. Earlier today, I read a young father and husband was killed by a motorist who did not see him. It’s sad all they way around. I guess I am a bit more observant because I lived in D.C. for about 8 years, and they have markers that help enforce the importance of watching for pedestrians, or else. Too bad this isn’t the norm across our country. :-/ At any rate, you all are in my thoughts and here’s to wishing Jim a speedy recovery.