Fatal Park City Bike Path Accident Highlights Helmet Safety
Friends and family held a Memorial service Friday for a Park City man who was killed in a motorized skateboarding accident over the Fourth of July Weekend. The tragic death highlights the importance of helmets, no matter how casual a trip might be.
According to the Summit County Sheriff, 46-year-old Wil Lundberg was found unresponsive on the bike path near the Highland Drive trailhead at Round Valley on Friday, July 2nd.
Lundberg crashed while riding a motorized skateboard. He was not wearing a helmet and passed away the next day after being transported to a Salt Lake area hospital with a “significant head injury.”
A vigil was held in Park City for Lundberg on Monday, and memorial services at the Church of Dirt took place Friday. A GoFundMe page has also been set up for his wife and two young children.
In an obituary, the Lundberg family extended their sincere thanks to emergency and medical staff involved for their efforts.
Dr. Scott McIntosh is an emergency physician at the University of Utah and the Medical Director of Summit County EMS, which includes the Park City Fire District. He told KPCW the ER has seen a rise in head injuries in recent years as electric-powered bikes and skateboards have become more popular. He said it’s important to wear a helmet, no matter how old you are or how short your trip may be.
“Wearing a helmet at all times is just so crucial to overall safety, whether you’re young or whether you’re old,” McIntosh said. “As we get older, our brain atrophies and that makes it more susceptible, actually, to even minor trauma than young folks’ brains. Wearing a helmet at all ages when you’re doing an activity that you can have even just a fall from a short height is really, really important.”
The Park City Hospital is equipped to treat some traumatic injuries, but the most serious are transferred to what are called Level I Trauma Centers.
There are only three Level I centers in the state: the University of Utah Hospital, Primary Children’s Hospital, and Intermountain Medical Center. All three are in the Salt Lake Valley and require a lengthy ambulance ride or helicopter evacuation if a serious accident occurs in the Wasatch Back.
McIntosh said certain trauma specialists are only found at Level I Centers.
“The neurosurgeons, the orthopedic doctors that handle really complex bone injuries, vascular surgeons that can repair bleeding arteries, those things are really just at high level and specialized trauma centers,” said McIntosh.
There are no laws in Utah that require helmets when riding a bike or other non-motorized vehicles. Even on motorcycles and electric bikes, helmets are not required unless the driver or passenger is under the age of 21.
Helmets are also a good idea when participating in activities like rock climbing or mountaineering to protect against falling rock or equipment.
Despite the protection helmets do provide, McIntosh added that it is still possible to sustain a head injury even if you are wearing one.
“You can still get brain bleeds even if you’re wearing helmets,” he said. “You can get concussions. You just need to be cautious in the first place and helmets are one of the things that can help you either survive an injury or help make the damage a little bit less if you do have an accident.”