It was just another morning commute. That is, until a bus driver ran a red light, turned right, and drove straight into Ann-Doerthe Hass Jensen. The bus knocked the social worker off her bike, trapping her underneath, a wheel pinning down and crushing her left foot. It was a school bus heading to a Copenhagen kindergarten, and the children aboard were screaming. Ann was rushed to hospital in excruciating pain, every bone in her foot shattered.
In the six weeks of hospitalisation that followed, part of Ann’s foot was amputated. Salvageable bones were wired back into place and skin grafts were taken from her thigh to replace the torn and missing flesh. “I’m pretty lucky,” says Ann. “People normally die when this happens.”
It was a year before she could walk again. During that year, she had to take a taxi to work every day. “I hated it,” she says. “Here, the taxi drivers are a menace, and I was really scared of accidents.” She also hated having to wait. Travelling by bike in Copenhagen is often the fastest way to get around, which is the top reason why Copenhageners cycle.
Ann’s physiotherapy was tricky. The missing portion of her foot is a crucial stepping point, and its absence affects her balance. But walking wasn’t the only part of her rehabilitation. In Copenhagen – where people own 5.2 bicycles for every car – over a third of residents pedal to work, school or college. So rehabilitation often literally means getting you back in the saddle. The City of Copenhagen helped Ann get a specially adapted Nihola cycle: a sturdy, stable three-wheeler that has allowed her to regain independent mobility.
Via Steve Crandall.