San Diego Cyclist Hit By Wrong-Way Driver Adjusts to Paralysis

In August 2014, avid cyclist Juan Carlos Viñolo was hit by a car traveling the wrong way on Fiesta Island. Viñolo’s shoulder smashed into the car’s windshield and his legs whipped over his head and onto the roof of the vehicle. He dislocated a clavicle, broke eight ribs and cut his hands. He lost a kidney, damaged his liver, lungs and spleen.

His spine was severed, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

Recovering from a Traumatic Cycling Accident

Today, nearly a year later, he’s adjusting to life as a paraplegic. His wife has been pushing him hard to adjust to his new life, and he’s received much support from the San Diego cycling community.

A week after the crash, hundreds of other people, including San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, rode around Fiesta Island in support of the Viñolo family. Many of them donated to a charity drive that has raised more than $215,000.

Cyclists also have been showing up at the court hearings for the car driver, a 50-year-old woman who is awaiting trial on felony charges of driving under the influence of methamphetamine and causing serious bodily injury. If convicted, she faces up to 18 years in prison.

Viñolo imagines a time when it will be easier for him to transfer from his wheelchair to the handcycle, and maybe get out on the road more often. The longest he’s been able to ride so far is a few miles.

If he starts road cycling again, he knows where he’ll have to go some day. Back to one of his favorite riding spots, a place where he was doing one of his favorite activities when his life was changed forever.

Bonnici Law GroupSan Diego Bicycle Accident Attorney