Posted on September 10, 2011 · Posted in Brain Injury

A veteran cyclist, who couldn’ t remember how and why he crashed while riding among the redwoods in California, found a way to put together the pieces. He used his GPS.

John Markoff wrote a first-person story for The New York Times last week about the memory loss he suffered after sustaining a concussion, and other injuries, after an accident on his bike. Markoff wrote that he broke his nose, had scrapes and stitches on his face, had a deep cut on his knee and was knocked unconscious in his July 3 crash.

But Markoff, who had been riding alone, had a 20-minute memory gap. He could not remember the accident or what caused it.

In The Times, Markoff said he watched the Tour de France when he was recovering. American entrant Chris Horner had sustained a concussion, but still finished. Then, according to Markeoff, Horner “turned to his coach and asked, ‘I crashed? I finished?'”

Markoff said he could relate. He was determined to find out why he crashed.

He wound up doing that, as other cyclists apparently have, by using data from his GPS device. He has a Garmin model that not only tracks location and speed but also a rider’s heart rate and pedaling rate.

Markoff uploaded that data and learned that at the time of his accident his speed in eight minutes had gone from 30 mph to 10 mph to zero, according to his account in The Times. He also saw the exact location of his crash.

So Markoff went back to the wooded area where he had his accident. He saw a slim long pothole that easily could have caused his accident, and flashes of what happened that day finally came back to him.

Markoff isn’t the only one who has used a GPS device to figure out exactly what happened in an accident. His account quotes a lawyer who believes that witnesses  who can testify about accidents based on GPS readings could become a new category of expert witnesses in court.  


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447