HARTSEL, Colo. — It's been 11 weeks of recovery for ultra endurance cyclist Jay Petervary after he was hit and severely injured while riding through Colorado this past summer.
"There was a good line of sight. It's pretty flat terrain at that point. It was 2:00 in the afternoon, a sunny day. As far as a cyclist goes, you would think you're in the safest spot that a cyclist could ever be and I was struck from behind," said Petervary of the August 27 crash.
He was over 2,000 miles into The Great Divide Race across the Continental Divide when he was hit by a driver in an SUV. He was riding to raise money for the non-profit, Be Good Foundation. He had just left Hartsel and had been riding for about 10 miles when he was hit.
"I was sliding on my face and my right eye was packed with gravel and all bleeding. I couldn't move because, at the time, I didn't know this, but I ended up breaking my wrist, it was kind of sideways while I was laying there. I snapped my humerus in half and then I broke my elbow with a compression fracture," he said.
According to Colorado State Patrol, while Petervary was on Park County Road 53, a 16-year-old driver tried to pass him and then hit the bike. The driver was ticketed for careless driving.
"You're vulnerable no matter where you're at. And that's a scary thing to realize actually," he said.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 2022 was a record-breaking year for pedestrian deaths—111 people were killed.
US National Team Cyclist Magnus White,17, was hit and killed while cycling on CO 119 between Boulder and Longmont this past summer. Colorado State Patrol investigators believe the driver — only identified as a 23-year-old woman from Westminster — drifted over to the shoulder of the road and hit the back of White's bike.
Cyclists are adamant that something major needs to change. Major safety improvements to CO 119 were announced after the July incident, which will include improved pedestrian crossings and a protected commuter bikeway. Construction will begin in 2024.
"People still get hit on bike paths, even the ones with like the medians and things like that with warning and stuff. I mean, it still happens" said Petervary. "I was on a dirt road thinking, 'that's safe,' with a good line of sight, and I wasn't. So that falls into another category of awareness and education."
He said he doesn't know the answer that will solve the problem, but he hopes no one else ends up in a crash like his, or worse.
"I can be mad for sure, and I have every right to be. But I also just can't let that piece take over my life. I got to get back, go and do the other things I want to do," he said.
At this point, the driver who hit White has not been charged. Denver7 checked in with the Colorado State Patrol and the 20th Judicial District Attorney's office for an update. The DA said they believe CSP's investigation into the July crash will be wrapping up soon, and a decision on possible charges will be made after that.