Three police cars blocked automobiles from taking the Cabrillo Bridge into Balboa Park at about 3 p.m on May 24. Five more squad cars were parked in the middle of the bridge, where about a half dozen officers stood on one sidewalk, apparently discussing an incident that had just happened there.
From a distance, it looked like someone might have jumped off the bridge onto the 163 freeway below. I rode my bike up to the three officers at the entrance to the bridge and asked if that was the case.
"No," said one of the cops. He tilted his head toward a black ten-speed bicycle in the trunk of one of the squad cars. "Someone just had an accident." "Wasn't wearing a helmet," another officer told me, giving me a look that seemed kind of odd.
I thanked the officers for the information and rode toward the gathering at the center of the bridge. The police there seemed busy recreating the accident, so I didn't ask any more questions — but I did see a fresh spot of soapy water in the middle of the sidewalk, near where the officers were congregated. It looked like someone had recently scrubbed the spot where the cyclist hit the ground.
As I pedaled away from the scene, I realized that why that one officer had given me a strange look: I wasn't wearing a helmet, either.
Later, I called the police department and asked if the cyclist was okay. "It was a minor injury, and he was taken to the hospital," the representative said.