A Valley cyclist spent his birthday recovering from several injuries after a vehicle hit him and drove off, leaving him on the side of the road Saturday morning.

The accident, which happened on 10th street near Freddy Gonzalez in McAllen, left cyclist Raul Guzman Jr. on the side of the road with five fractured ribs, a broken left fibula and a partially collapsed lung. 

“I knew I had been hit by a car. My bike – I could see my rear wheel looked like a pretzel,” Guzman said.

Guzman, who had to call his wife and 911 himself because there was no one else around, said the impact might have caused him to lose consciousness as he hardly remembers making the call. 

“I don’t remember the ambulance coming. I never heard, I never saw the two fire trucks that came or the policemen. Then all of a sudden my friend Chris, who I was going to ride with, showed up, he was standing there with all those people,” Guzman said.

The 63-year-old is a member of Team McAllen Cycling, a local cycling group. Winston Ayala, president of the group, said there is often trouble sharing the road between cyclists and drivers.

“I’ve ridden on the road, literally, with a gentleman in the car, with his two kids, a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old, in the car and he has the windows rolled down, trying to run me off the road, laughing the whole time,” Ayala said.

Team McAllen Cycling currently has about 100 active members, and is one of several in the Rio Grande Valley. 

McAllen District 6 Commissioner Veronica Whitacre said the number of people on the streets has increased, and urges drivers to stay aware.

“There’s always someone out – family, runner, rider, cyclists – always. Because of that, we need to be more respectful and aware of our surroundings,” Whitacre said.

Guzman said he was traveling on the shoulder and had both a front and tail light. Now having lived through a bicycling accident, Guzman said he’d like to see the city do something so other cyclists don’t lose their lives while participating in the sport they love.

“It would be nice if the city or the county bought some land and paved it like a big loop. Where we could have maybe a six-mile loop and we could go out there and know there’s no cars,” Guzman said.

The McAllen Police Department is currently investigating the accident.