Once every few thousand miles while out riding my road bike I'll run over a small rock in the street in such a way that the weight of the vehicle with me on it sends said rock shooting out laterally with a great deal of speed and force, perhaps enough force to shatter glass or dent a body panel, judging by the loud reports of the projectiles impacting violently against curbs, buildings, newspaper boxes. I've often shuddered at the thought of accidentally pinging one of these road bullets off someone's face or noggin, or hitting them in the eye. It's unlikely, but certainly possible.

Browsing through issues of the Boulder Daily Camera from 1896 I found this report that made my heart sink.

Chicago, June 27. -- Earnest, the three year old son of Mrs. Schlickweis, living four miles from Hinsdale, met his death today in a very peculiar manner. With his mother the boy was out walking when the mother missed him and in going back found him lying dead on the path. A jagged stone lying near explained matters. A wheelman passing at full speed passed over a stone which was thrown by the bicycle tire with such force that when the boy was struck on the head death was instant. The wheelman, knowing nothing of the affair, passed on and has not been identified. (Boulder Daily Camera, June 27, 1896. Note the incident occurred in Illinois.)

Could this be a true story? Has anybody heard of or caused injuries of any kind to bystanders due to road bullets? In any case, rest in peace, little Ernie.

Tell me your road bullet stories. Robert at industrializedcyclist dot com.


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