LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

BOISE -- A cyclist who was hit by a car is preparing for surgery, and Boise Police are still looking for the driver. It has been just more than a week since Joshua Barton was struck at the intersection of West Hays Street and North 9th Street in Boise's North End.

I've been riding and racing since I was 13, said Barton. I've raced all over the planet, all over the U.S.

Barton rides his bike 13 miles each way to work most days. His life shifted on Tuesday, May 13, around 7:20 in the morning.

A car was behind me, traveling eastbound with me, and I was actually in the intersection already when they tried to turn right, and came across me and caused me to crash, Barton said. I hit the top of my head, we believe, against the car and then rolled and hit the bottom of my neck, top of my back and fractured two vertebrae in my neck.

Barton said the car drove off, and a young man helped Barton to his feet.

I was confused so I really wasn't thinking clearly but my bike was still rideable so I, in all my wisdom at the time, decided to get on my bike and ride the rest of the way to work, he said.

A few blocks later, he felt sick and went to the emergency room where doctors discovered the extent of his injuries.

There's a bone fragment from one of the fractures that's compressing a nerve that goes to my arm, so I have numbness in my hand, Barton said. Intermittently I have this pretty excruciating pain that shoots down from my neck through my arm.

The accident made Barton a patient at St. Luke's Health System, where he's usually the doctor. Barton is the only liver surgeon and one of only two pancreatic surgeons in the state of Idaho.

The most troubling part of all this for me is that there are many, many patients who are going through some of the biggest ordeals that life has to offer, said Barton.

Dozens of his patients, most of whom are dealing with cancer, now have to be sent to hospitals out of state.

They're looking at having their treatment really altered by this, and I guess that's the thing that really bothers me, he said. Somebody was driving irresponsibly, did this to me, and I'm going through something that I'm going to recover from, but there are some folks who are going through a bigger deal.

For Barton, who used to commute to work by bike most days, last Tuesday morning was his last ride. He no longer feels safe on his bike, but wants to spread a message of safety to those still cycling.

If you want to be taken seriously and if you want to have your place on the road, ride your bike responsibly, and take your role very seriously, he said.

His message of safety is also for drivers.

It's going to add no more than 10 second to your life to wait and pass safely, and probably no more than three seconds, and you're going to save a life if you just hesitate a little bit and give them wide clearance and get around them safely, he said.

Barton is going into surgery Thursday, and will then face six weeks of recovery before he can operate on his own patients again. He said his helmet saved his life.

Boise Police are still looking for the driver involved in the hit-and-run. Anyone with information about the crash is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS.

Read or Share this story: http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2014/07/03/12182037/