The Tour of California is apparently drawing thousands of cycling fans who are getting to see some world-class riders such as Lance Armstrong. The seven-time Tour de France victor is carrying on in spite of a personal bicycle accident injury involving more than a dozen riders. Andy Jacques-Maynes, a Watsonville native, had to drop out of the race after he was injured and hospitalized as a result of the accident. The roads were slippery and dangerous because of the recent rain. Our source for this blog was this news report in the San Jose Mercury News.
Riders and race organizers had to deal with flooded streets and mud on the roadway – even rock slides on Highway 1. Caltrans supervisor Russell Ellingworth said that he and his crew cleaned up a long stretch of the highway to prevent riders from having more accidents. I’m glad to see that Caltrans is concerned with the safety of these bicycle riders. Hopefully Caltrans efforts for the cyclists will improve the safety for the rest of California’s motoring and cycling public as well.
The danger that these riders are facing on the slick roads in this wintry weather draws attention to the hazards that bicyclists face on hazardous California’s roadways every day. The race’s organizers have done a tremendous job in their effort to make this event safe for the riders as well as tens of thousands of people who gather across the state to watch their cycling heroes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 662 fatalities and 48,000 injuries relating to bicycle accidents in the United States in 2002. California alone accounted for 116 of these bicycle accident fatalities in 2002. A number of these bicycle accidents involve collisions with other motorists. But many accidents are also caused by dangerous or poorly maintained roadways. Injuries from bicycle accidents can be fatal or catastrophic because of the rider’s closeness to fast moving traffic and the lack of protection.
We wish the Tour of California race participants the very best for a safe and successful event. This is truly an inspiring race, which has given Californians the opportunity to watch and cheer on the best in the sport.