Triathlete makes a plea to drivers and bicyclists - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Triathlete makes a plea to drivers and bicyclists

Mike Nishimoto Mike Nishimoto

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

NORTH SHORE (KHNL) - A cyclist hit by a tour bus on Oahu's North Shore over the weekend, remained in critical condition Monday tonight. A tour bus hit 34-year old John Henderson of Waialua, Saturday afternoon, as he rode along Kamehameha Highway. Doctors at the Queen's Medical Center are treating broken bones and an injury to his spine. Police are still investigating why the accident happened. They do not believe the bus driver was speeding or drinking.

Sadly, this is not the first time an accident like this has happened. In fact, six years ago, a triathlete was also hit by a tour bus from behind while riding in the shoulder lane.

Mike Nishimoto says both bicyclists and drivers need to be more aware of each other on the roads.

In 2003, Nishimoto was on a bike ride as part of his training for an Ironman when he was hit. In the blink of an eye, he says, his life changed forever.

"I was going out for a short easy one hour bike ride, easy spin and I left the parking lot and probably about 2 to 3 minutes after I left the parking lot, I was hit by a tour bus," recalled Nishimoto.

Hours later, he awoke in a hospital bandaged up.

"First thing I remembered was looking down at my legs. They had atrophied so much they were basically skin and bones," said Nishimoto. But his injuries were more severe than what he saw. The doctors at Tripler told him he would never walk again.

With support from his friends, Nishimoto proved them wrong and literally got back on his feet. He made a commitment to get better and as physically fit as he could. He worked out at the Honolulu Club and his friend would help clip him into his pedals on the spin bike.

"All I wanted to do was get up and go somewhere," he said.

After hearing about Saturday's accident in Waialua, Nishimoto shook his head and reflected on his misfortune and said, "It's very similar to my situation, being hit by a bus from behind."

Nishimoto urges both drivers and bicyclists to be alert and aware on the road.

"There's so many people out there distracted and listening to their cell phones while they're driving. It's just so dangerous out here for cyclists out on the roads."

One thing Nishimoto always makes sure he brings with him while riding is his helmet. He said, with more people on their bikes and on the road this time of the year, safety should always be top of mind.

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