‘Magical thinking’ is getting cyclists killed

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR!

By Max R. Weller

Members of the Boulder Rescue Squad redirect traffic at the intersection of Broadway and U.S. 36 after a cyclist was hit by a vehicle during the Ironman

Members of the Boulder Rescue Squad redirect traffic at the intersection of Broadway and U.S. 36 after a cyclist was hit by a vehicle during the Ironman Boulder this morning. (Autumn Parry / Staff Photographer)

Read the report in the Daily Camera: Ironman Boulder athlete killed by vehicle during cycling leg of race. Excerpt follows:

A 34-year-old Ironman Boulder competitor from Nebraska was struck and killed by a vehicle this morning while competing in the cycling leg of the triathlon on U.S. 36 north of Boulder, Colorado State Patrol officials said.

The crash killed Michelle Walters of McCook, Neb., CSP officials said.

Walters was struck on U.S. 36 just north of Broadway at 9:54 a.m.

Today’s crash marks the fourth time a cyclist has been killed by a driver in Boulder County since late May.

This afternoon, Ironman officials released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of one of our athletes at Ironman Boulder. We are working with the Colorado State Patrol to gather all of the details regarding the incident that occurred on State Highway 36 just north of Broadway. Our condolences go out to the athlete’s family and friends, whom we will continue to support.”

CSP officials said alcohol and speed are not believed to be contributing factors in the crash.

The fatal crash remains under investigation.

CSP officials have not yet identified the driver or the vehicle involved in the crash, with Trooper Tim Sutherland saying those details  should be available Monday.

I can recall before CDOT put in the traffic lights at N. Broadway & U.S. 36 just a few years ago, there was only a single STOP sign on N. Broadway. It was frequently ignored by packs of a score or more of spandex-clad cyclists, who wouldn’t even slow down as they ran that stop sign and entered onto U.S. 36 from their rendezvous at Amante Coffee on Broadway. “Reckless” is the mildest word you could use to describe this behavior. A few cyclists have paid the ultimate price for it, and I saw one who tried this stunt only to be run over and killed by a dump truck.

Reading the online comments of cyclists in the Boulder Bubble on various websites brings to mind the term magical thinking — they seem to be insisting that simply being “in the right” per traffic laws should protect them from any and all harm. This is untrue, of course. It might make for an interesting epitaph, however:

HERE LIES JOE CYCLIST

KILLED BY A MOTORIST

BUT HE WAS IN THE RIGHT!

R.I.P.

At this point, we don’t know who was at fault in Sunday’s fatality at this intersection, the motorist or the cyclist . . . And we won’t know until the CSP investigation is concluded and any charges that might be brought against the motorist involved are adjudicated.

We ought to have enough common sense right now to realize it’s just too dangerous for cyclists to ride on highways AT ANY TIME, Ironman Boulder 2016 be damned! Some cyclists are suggesting that U.S. 36 and other roads be closed down during such races, but this is more magical thinking.

BTW, I lived at various campsites within a stone’s throw of this accident scene for many years, and also spent years playing the role of humble beggar in the median at N. Broadway & U.S. 36, so I know whereof I speak on the issue of traffic here.

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October, 2011 

Update from Daily Camera: State patrol: Triathlete killed during Ironman Boulder swerved out of race lane.

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