Cyclist: "Helmet saved my life’ |

Cyclist: "Helmet saved my life’

Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – A paralegal is investigating details of a case involving a collision between two bicyclists, one of whom attributes his bike helmet to saving his life.

According to Colorado State Patrol reports, Jason Kline of Breckenridge was riding his bicycle from Frisco to the top of Vail Pass when Mark Gidney of Silverthorne, biking in the opposite direction, passed other bicyclists and collided with Kline. The incident occurred behind Fiesta Jalisco – formerly El Rio – July 19.

Kline was thrown over his handlebars, landing on his head. Gidney suffered a concussion. Gidney could not be reached for comment Friday.

Kline, who bikes the 42-mile round-trip from his home atop Peak 7 to Vail Pass four times a week, doesn’t remember the accident.

“I remember seeing him in my lane, and that’s it,” Kline said. “I was basically out from that point on. The first thing I remember is asking the ambulance guys to call my wife. But all of Friday and Saturday is gone.”

Kline suffered facial lacerations and a broken jaw that had to be wired shut for the past week. He learned Friday that his jaw was incorrectly set and that he must return to surgery to have it reset.

It could have been worse.

“The helmet definitely saved my life,” he said. “There’s a pretty big ding in it, and it’s pretty scratched up.”

Deb Davis, the paralegal investigating the incident, said she wouldn’t be surprised if Kline starts having problems with memory loss, as such injuries sometimes don’t appear immediately.

Kline hasn’t been able to do anything since his injury, either at the fire department or at his job at JVC and KB Mechanical, where he does plumbing work, he said.

Firefighters at the Red, White and Blue Fire Department, where Kline is a firefighter and an engineer, were relieved to hear he was alive, said Kim O’Brien, public information officer.

It wasn’t even a year ago firefighters there suffered the loss of 10-year veteran Chris Ethridge, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident north of Boulder. Ethridge, a co-owner of Great Adventure Sports in Breckenridge, was riding his bicycle when he was struck by an elderly woman driving a Cadillac; he was killed instantly. The woman left the scene and was pulled over by law enforcement later that afternoon.

“If he (Kline) hadn’t be wearing his helmet, he’d definitely be dead,” O’Brien said. “One second you’re there, the next you’re gone. You can buy a new bike, a new car, a new helmet. But if you take a life, you can’t get that back.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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