Transplant Athlete
Saturday, July 09, 2005
  15 year old unlicensed driver

If you've checked the RAAM website at all, you know that during RAAM this year, Bob Breedlove died tragically. I knew Bob by reputation only, he held several transcontinental records amd some tandem records with Lon Haldeman. While we were on the road, we first found out about a rule change when we called in our time at a time station. They said that the follow vehicle had to be behind the rider at all times including broad daylight. Previously there had been some leeway during the day, so the vehicle could get refueled or crew could be swapped out. I donn't know if the crew was insulating us from the tragedy, but I didn't find out for another 4 to 8 hours that Bob had been killed. The details on the road were sketchy. I wasn't even sure where it had occured.

The story goes like this. Bob's crew was providing leapfrog support and saw him about a mile before the accident occured. The 15 year old driver claims that Bob slumped over on his bicycle and swerved into his path.

I'm immediately skeptical of the 15 year old's story. First of all, Bob was an experienced ultracyclist, he couldn't and wouldn't make a mistake like that. His crew saw him a mile before the accident, so Bob was presumably awake and alert. The coroner's preliminary report says that there were no other circumstances like heart attack or stroke. I'm guessing that the 15 year old unlicensed driver was flying down the road at Mach 2 fiddling with the radio or his cellphone when he realized he was in Bob's lane(maybe it was a bend in the road). I'd like to know how fast the kid was driving if after leaving skidmarks, he hit Bob hard enough to kill him.

During my first transcontinental bike trip a rider was hit from behind by an RV. she died several days later. Later, Larry Schwartz, another rider from the trip was hit by a school bus and killed, the driver didn't even stop. Later that year, a woman narrowly missed me as she passed and hit the rider about 50 yeards in front of me during a fun century. The first words out of her mouth were "that cyclist hit my car."

That's one way of looking at it I guess. Another way to look at it is to say she overtook him at around 45 mph and slammed into him from behind with a ton of detroit steel. I don't really see how he was supposed to get out of your way ma'am he was as far right as was practical. The sad part was she went to the police and the cyclist didn't, so the police only got the "that cyclist hit my car" side of the story.

Ride boldly ride Bob.


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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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