Doctor killed while cycling is recalled as an 'encourager'

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Daniel Dickinson played many parts before his death Monday: father, doctor, friend, cyclist.

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Dr. Daniel Dickinson (from left) stops for a photo in a hike with friends Alan Johnson and Doyce Johnson. Doyce Johnson said he and Dickinson had planned to go to Yosemite in three weeks.  Special
Dr. Daniel Dickinson (from left) stops for a photo in a hike with friends Alan Johnson and Doyce Johnson. Doyce Johnson said he and Dickinson had planned to go to Yosemite in three weeks.

One role in particular was repeated more than any other, though, when those who knew Dickinson talked about him Tuesday: encourager.

"He was just an optimistic person, always with a smile on his face," said Phil Cohen, whose relationship with Dickinson goes back 20 years.

For Cohen, the owner of the Chain Reaction bicycle shop in Martinez, Dickinson was an encourager on the long training rides they would take out of Augusta. If Cohen ever fell back, Dickinson always slowed and pumped him up with his words.

"He wouldn't leave me behind," Cohen said.

Dickinson was a longtime cyclist and even crossed the country in 1993's Race Across America. He was pedaling to work at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center around 6:30 a.m. Monday when he was hit from behind by a car. He died a few hours later from his injuries; he was 57.

Charlie Bussey, 76, was driving the 2003 Buick Regal that ran into Dickinson. Charges have not been filed, pending the outcome of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Cohen said Dickinson never shied from away from a challenge, whether it was cycling cross country or, more recently, climbing Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States.

"His days were definitely well-spent," Cohen said.

Cycling was a passion, but it didn't define him. The role he treasured most was husband and father to his four children, said friend Brian James.

"If anybody was a family man, it was Dan," James said. "He was always talking about his family."

James cycled with Dickinson roughly six years and called him a "great cyclist" who was always concerned about anyone who rode with him. That trait carried over to his work as a general practitioner in the family medicine clinic at Fort Gordon's hospital.

Dr. Mary Lewis, a pediatrician who worked with Dickinson, said he made an effort to know everyone on a personal level. He would be the listening ear and the concerned friend whenever someone was going through a rough time, Lewis said.

That sensitivity figured prominently in his practice as a doctor and made him a natural with children. Lewis said her office was filled with crying parents Tuesday who praised the care and concern Dickinson had shown toward their children.

"For him, medicine was a natural thing; it came effortlessly," Lewis said.

The staff at Eisenhower is like a family, and Dickinson was a true encouragement in the tight-knit group, Lewis said.

"We're going to miss him," she said. "It's not going to be same without him."

Doyce Johnson was planning a trip to Yosemite in three weeks with his longtime friend. They had made their final preparations over breakfast Saturday, then followed it with some mountain biking. In all their adventures, Dickinson was the one they counted on to make the best of a situation.

"It didn't matter how bad things got," Johnson said. "He was always happy."

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augusta citizen
augusta citizen 08/02/11 - 09:14 am
This is very sad, prayers to

This is very sad, prayers to his family and friends.

Sweet son
Sweet son 08/02/11 - 11:44 am
I am so sorry for the Dickson

I am so sorry for the Dickson family and the loss of their husband and dad. The rest of us who do not cycle and drive automobiles and other vehicles are just not aware enough of the small two wheeled vehicles that suddenly appear in front of us. Some cyclists wear bright reflective vests and some even have blinking tail lights. If I can, I always give pedestrians and cyclists a wide berth as I pass them but I notice others do not. Please take care to remember that others either walking or cycling need to be avoided with care.

butterfly1972 08/02/11 - 12:53 pm
My thoughts and prayers go

My thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Dan and his family. May you have comfort in your time of sorrow. I have read the blogs and I just want us to think that each and every day is a precious gift....if we would all just take our time and be kind, enjoy life as the Europeans do, and these things could be avoided. WE are always in such a hurry and for what? Can you imagine waking up one day, and that is the last time you hear your loved one's voice. Life is a precious gift and we each need to take time and care for others no matter what the situtation. Life is about sharing. The world would be a better place. This should be a wake up call for all of us. Be patient and enjoy life so many things could be avoided.

Bengal33 08/02/11 - 01:55 pm
Tasteless comments from

Tasteless comments from ignorant posters are not needed here. A local hero has been lost. The AC is not sensationalizing Dr. Dan - there is no need to. I was a personal friend of Dr. Dan. He was a role model for many as well as volunteering countless hours for Doctors without Borders giving up personal vacation time to tend to 3rd world countries in need of medical attention. he suffered right beside his patients in appressive heat amoung dealy disease and viruses. His stories of helping these peopel inspired others to lend a hand as well. The man was a hero to many. Ignorant comments from anonymous posters is one more reason I'm glad to have left the CSRA. Move away people, the rest of the world does not have the short sighted, hateful attitudes that eprmaeate this terrible area. RIP Dr. Dan - you are in a much BETTER place!

IamNewToComputers 08/02/11 - 02:26 pm
Thanks Bengal33! While it was

Thanks Bengal33! While it was probably an accident, it is still such a terrible tragedy. Dr. Dan was a wonderful guy. RIP.

Sweet15403 08/03/11 - 09:05 am
Dr. Dickinson was my doctor

Dr. Dickinson was my doctor and I was his patient. I would just like to say that he was a great man who knew just what to say to cheer people up and put a smile on their face. He never gave up on what he was needing to do. I heard about the accident two nights ago by my mother after picking me up from a friend's house. I couldn't believe it. I was in shock and I still am especially after reading this. I just want to say that my prayers go out to his family because I know it's hard losing someone very close to you and that everything will get better over time. And I want to send my prayers out to his closest friends because of how it affects them also. I hope that everyone knows how amazing and wonderful he was to everyone for those who don't know him. May you rest in peace, Dr. Dickinson. We love you and we will miss you terribly.

jmizereck 08/03/11 - 09:59 am
My heart sinks every time I

My heart sinks every time I hear about the death of a fellow cyclist. And my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Dr. Dickinson.

While cycling is safe, sharing space on our roads is becoming hazardous and the growing number of cyclists must find ways to protect themselves.

So much of the noise surrounding cycling safety issues are focused on the actions of the few motorists and cyclists who just don't get it. They don't care about their own safety let alone others' safety. We argue endlessly about the actions of these few scofflaws. And while we argue people are getting hurt and killed. Moms and dads and brothers and sisters and just good people like Dr. Dickinson are losing their lives because we cannot get beyond the negative stuff that suffocates progress. We cannot focus our attention on taking reasonable steps to provide clear standards for behavior and ultimately safer roads for drivers, runners, cyclists, pedestrians and all others. We have to push aside all the meaningless noise, roll up our sleeves and do whatever we can to give vulnerable road users greater protection. And yes, at the same time we need to let vulnerable road users know that they have rules to follow as well...and they too will be held accountable. The cities and communities that are making the greatest progress are those that have risen above the noise and beyond the negativism and are focusing their thoughts and actions on saving lives.

There is a lot of work to do to improve the behaviors of both motorists and cyclists. For the most part, the majority of motorists and cyclists get along very well on our roads. Yes, sadly, accidents will happen because some are just unavoidable. But, we must work harder to prevent the avoidable ones from happening. And the first step is to get past the adversarial relationship between motorists and cyclists so we can work together for the good of all...motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. At the heart of this change is the presence of a mutual respect for each other. This respect for fellow travelers is the foundation for preventing accidents and saving lives.

I know Dr. Dickinson died doing something he really enjoyed doing—riding his bicycle. It’s tragic. It’s sad. But, please, let’s not make it even sadder and more tragic by surrounding his death with meaningless noise. Let’s honor Dr. Dickinson by finding ways to prevent the loss of more lives by working together to make our roads safer for everyone. And may I suggest that the first pledge we all make is to not use our cell phones while driving. Please, PutItDown…and save lives. Last year 1.6 million people died as a result of distracted driving. And for the cyclists out there, two keys to our staying alive: Be predictable and Be visible. If we get it wrong, then we force a force a motorist to suffer a lifetime nightmare. And that is just unacceptable.

We can get along on our roads…we just have to roll up our sleeves, be respectful of one another and make it happen.

Joe Mizereck
Founder of the “3 Feet Please” and “Put it down” Campaigns

LemonJello 08/03/11 - 10:15 am
I worked with him as a

I worked with him as a pharmaceutical rep. He was always consistently upbeat, always smiling, and always had a kind word. A very good man, indeed. I pray for his wife and children. He loved them and talked of them every time I saw him. R.I.P. Dr. Dickinson.

chiqagolil 08/04/11 - 05:11 pm
Blunt instruments don't come

Blunt instruments don't come on cars. This was my daughter Alexandra's and my daughter Maria Consuela's Childhood Doctor until they were 14. He was the best doctor they had ever had. We haven't found one that is his quality in our hometown of Aiken. Due to our abrupt income change in 1998, we were forced to go to a local health facility for low income folks. Too Bad!

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