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BigMac
06-23-2005, 07:52 PM
Very sad news this day. Bob Breedlove, a 2-time tandem champion at RAAM, competing solo this year was involved in a fatal head-on collision with a pickup this afternoon. The pickup driver has stated that Bob seemed to "slump over" the bars of his bike just prior to veering in front of pickup. There were apparently no other direct witnesses at the time of accident.

I had the great opportunity to meet Bob, and his tandem partner at the time Lon Haldeman, several years ago. He struck me as a genuine, caring, honest and remarkably enthusiastic man. A great loss to the cycling community. He is survived by his wife and 4 children.

Ride on my brother!

OnceFast
06-23-2005, 07:58 PM
This may be a dumb question, but where was his crew and what is their version of the "accident"?

Needs Help
06-23-2005, 07:59 PM
:(

shiftinjon
06-23-2005, 08:21 PM
I may be wrong, but I think the crew is only required to be with the rider at night.

I am deeply saddened by this, but must put it in context with the big picture; it could have happened to him while he was driving a car.

Still, the sleep deprivation element of this race is somewhat disturbing, as it was during six day racing back in the day. That was changed into a "humane" form. I've always hoped that this race would change/evolve into our national tour, with stages and riders sleeping at night. Oh well.

zeroking17
06-23-2005, 08:47 PM
This is very sad news.

I had a chance meeting with Dr. Breedlove in the mid 80s. I was riding near Iowa City (between the towns of Lone Tree and Hills for those of you familiar with these parts) when I saw a cyclist, looking lost, stopped at an unmarked intersection.

I stopped to chat and he told me that he was on his way to a family picnic that afternoon -- in Illinois. He'd already ridden from Des Moines (about 125 miles) and had at least 50 miles more just to reach the Mississippi River. And he was planning on riding back home that night. I rode a short distance with him. I remember that he was riding a white Kestral.

Ray
06-23-2005, 10:11 PM
Sounds like it was legitimately an accident, based on the driver's actions. And his support vehicle was leapfrogging and not with him at the time.

The support vehicle was providing leapfrog support to Bob
Breedlove at the time of the accident. Bob Breedlove was last seen
by his crew members about a mile before the accident took place.
They reported that he seemed fit to continue the race. “He seemed
fine, we passed him a PowerBar and a Spizz (energy drink), and he
went on his way,” said one of the crew members.

Skidmarks leading off the road to the right suggest that the
driver of the vehicle did what he could to avoid a collision. “It
seemed like he must have passed out, he slumped on his bars. He
just swerved right into our lane.” Said the distraught driver of
the vehicle, who hurried to the next town immediately after the
accident and made the 911 call himself.

-Ray

davep
06-23-2005, 10:12 PM
This is terrible, terrible news. RIP Bob.

From the RAAM website:

The support vehicle was providing leapfrog support to Bob Breedlove at the time of the accident. Bob Breedlove was last seen by his crew members about a mile before the accident took place. They reported that he seemed fit to continue the race. “He seemed fine, we passed him a PowerBar and a Spizz (energy drink), and he went on his way,” said one of the crew members.

Skidmarks leading off the road to the right suggest that the driver of the vehicle did what he could to avoid a collision. “It seemed like he must have passed out, he slumped on his bars. He just swerved right into our lane.” Said the distraught driver of the vehicle, who hurried to the next town immediately after the accident and made the 911 call himself.

William
06-24-2005, 06:07 AM
Wow, I'm very sorry to hear this news. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

William

Too Tall
06-24-2005, 07:29 AM
The world is a little smaller and a loss of one very very fine man.
I rode the Elite PAC tour with him.
I'll always remember his charm and pension for ripping the sleeves off his jerseys.
This really is crushing.

Jeff N.
06-24-2005, 12:49 PM
Wasn't someone killed last year as well on RAAM? In Colorado too, as I recall, only at night. Similar scenario. How horrible for the families especially. Jeff N.

boulder_courier
06-24-2005, 04:26 PM
Team Vail - Go Fast rider Brett Malin was killed during the 2003 RAAM - Colorado rider killed in New Mexico on US Highway 60 by a Semi after the cyclist made a U - turn.

alienator
06-25-2005, 12:10 PM
How sad for the driver of the truck. After all, he ended up involved in a fatal accident because the other person wasn't operating his vehicle safely on a public road. The cycling clique often forgets that actual humans exist outside the clan, such as the driver of the truck in this case. People ought to give thought to what he's going to have to deal with.

Whether it's car, motorcyle, or bike, if you can't operate the vehicle safely, then you shouldn't be on the road.

shiftinjon
06-25-2005, 03:26 PM
How sad for the driver of the truck. After all, he ended up involved in a fatal accident because the other person wasn't operating his vehicle safely on a public road. The cycling clique often forgets that actual humans exist outside the clan, such as the driver of the truck in this case. People ought to give thought to what he's going to have to deal with.

Whether it's car, motorcyle, or bike, if you can't operate the vehicle safely, then you shouldn't be on the road.

The driver of the pickumup truck wasn't operating his vehicle legally and shouldn't have been on the road...

http://9news.com/acm_news.aspx?OSGNAME=KUSA&IKOBJECTID=ae56c624-0abe-421a-0093-f7ef305a2035&TEMPLATEID=0c76dce6-ac1f-02d8-0047-c589c01ca7bf

Breedlove had every right to be on the road.

alienator
06-25-2005, 04:14 PM
...and on which side of the road did Breedlove end up? That's the point. The cycling world wants car drivers held accountable.....which is what should happen.....while at the same time it wants the world to turn a blind eye whenever a cyclist goes astray of the traffic laws. Again, Breedlove was unable to operate his vehicle safely. That fact is independent of the truck driver's age.

I suppose the elitists in the cycling clique would yell and thrash about if every year there was an endurance car race, across the U.S., wherein the drivers were all sleep deprived but really good people just pushing their own life experience envelope back a bit.

To be a responsible member of society....not just a jacka55 on two wheels....you have to function like you give two sh*ts about your society.

boulder_courier
06-25-2005, 05:24 PM
I smell some specious logic above....

Kid is too young to drive. If he isn't driving, the cyclist (who seems to have fallen asleep on his bike), slumps over and crashes into the ditch or fence on the other side of the road, but PROBABLY LIVES!

Louis
06-25-2005, 05:52 PM
It’s simple guys: They were both wrong.

The kid should not have been driving, and Breedlove should not have left his lane. (Assuming that really is how things happened.)

However, regardless of the driver’s license status, the cyclist takes most of the blame, because he made the much bigger mistake. Saying that the accident would not have happened if the kid was not there ignores the magnitude of Breedlove’s error. It could easily have been another vehicle in the other lane and that would not have helped the cyclist one bit.

Louis

boulder_courier
06-25-2005, 07:33 PM
But there was not another vehicle there...as ther was no witness. It is VERY SIMPLE - If the kid doesn't break the law and drive the truck at that given place and that exact time Dr Breedlove is alive. We're not talking about some other random event - with some hyptothetical driver.

The kid BROKE THE LAW!!!!!!!! The doctor either suffered a heart attack or fell asleep.............

Jeff N.
06-25-2005, 08:16 PM
Got to agree with the above: The kid had no right to be on the road. Period. Jeff N.

OnceFast
06-26-2005, 10:06 PM
Why is everyone taking the word of a 15 year old kid, who didn't have a license, about what happened? Yeah, maybe Dr. Breedlove did fall asleep, but I hope the police did a thorough investigation.

BumbleBeeDave
06-26-2005, 10:54 PM
. . . of the strict legalities of the incident, I think most of you are missing the point. Aleinator is right--if car drivers engaged in this sort of race, the outcry and outrage would be near instantaneous. But because it’s bicycles, that’s OK, at least with you guys. Given that many states treat bicycles the same as cars in their traffic laws--as “vehicles”--if I were the sheriff in any one of the counties traversed by the RAAM, I would be thinking very seriously about ticketing the cyclists for unsafe operation, particularly east of the Mississippi, because by definition they are all going to be officially “sleep deprived” by the time they get that far east. And some very reputable research shows that’s as bad as being drunk.

I am also very surprised that there is no requirement by RAAM that escort vehicles stay with the cyclists AT ALL TIMES. By the time these guys have ridden for 6-7 days without any measurable sleep, they are left out on the road ALONE?!?! Come ON!!! . . .

In any event, no matter what kinds of releases that RAAM has the cyclists sign, they will have to face up to the fact that two years in a row they have had fatalities, and those fatalities have both been associated with cyclists who are either sleep deprived (Breedlove) or exhausted (last year, which happened after the handoff of the “baton” at the end of a “shift”) I think the race organizers should be seriously looking at major changes to the race to eliminate the sleep deprivation component. The Guiness Book of Records folks allow hourly potty breaks for people sitting on flagpoles and the like, so why not sleep breaks for RAAM?

Speaking of sleep deprivation, I just finished a 50 mile ride and I need my beauty sleep. Take a look at the open house photo threads and you’ll see how desperate my need is! Good night . . .

BBDave

Ray
06-27-2005, 07:40 AM
Why is everyone taking the word of a 15 year old kid, who didn't have a license, about what happened? Yeah, maybe Dr. Breedlove did fall asleep, but I hope the police did a thorough investigation.
Not too tough to take the kid's word for what happened. Breedlove veered all the way across the road into the kid's oncoming truck, coming in the OTHER direction. The kid went off the road on HIS side to try to avoid him. How much evidence do you need? No, the kid shouldn't have been driving, but this accident was clearly caused by a sleep deprived rider who just totally lost it. Like the guy last year and, probably, like additional accidents to come in the future as these athletes continue to push themselves WAAAAAY beyond the normal limits of human endurance. My kids and I followed Mike Trevino (second place solo finisher) for a while near the end of last year's race (we're in southeast PA, so we saw him within about 12-14 hours of the finish). The guy was still riding but he was clearly completely out of it, based on his reactions when he came through the control and the few people there cheered for him and then watching him on the road for a while, from a very safe distance.

This is an incredible event, but it's a dangerous one and not likely to get any safer as the level of competition continues to rise.

-Ray

Too Tall
06-27-2005, 08:15 AM
First, it is my sincere expectation of anyone posting after the un-timley death of this much loved man show all the respect you can muster. This is a tragedy for everyone and nobody knows or may ever know the facts. The thread is an OBITUARY not a debate on ethics.

Show respect and concern.

BigMac
06-27-2005, 10:54 AM
First, it is my sincere expectation of anyone posting after the un-timley death of this much loved man show all the respect you can muster. This is a tragedy for everyone and nobody knows or may ever know the facts. The thread is an OBITUARY not a debate on ethics.

Show respect and concern.

Thank you kind sir for bringing back a bit of humanity to a discussion that was spiralling into the morbid depths of Mordor.

I had originally posted the story very shortly after I had heard of this stunning tragedy. I figured enough avid cyclists circle these parts that perhaps this thread could be an informal memorial to the fine man and cyclist that was the late Bob Breedlove. Indeed it started out with folks sharing any personal experiences they had had with Bob, I loved the "lost rider" in DesMoines, absolutely priceless thank you. I do not set any rules here, unfortunately no longer visit with any regularity but I still ask that when faced with a tragedy such as this, consider the man or woman, the human that was, for at least a few days. Point fingers and blame on your own time, in your own way, but at least wait for the body to cool.

Ride on!

SGP
06-27-2005, 10:57 AM
i have always hoped that the RAAM would evolve in to a stage race. (didn't the tour de france start with insanley long stages)
or atleast having every one stop where they are at, say, midnight and start again at 6 am.

that being said, this is truely a tragic loss :(

BumbleBeeDave
06-27-2005, 11:22 AM
. . . over my comments. They were not intended to show any lack of respect for Mr. Breedlove or lessen the tragedy his death represents.

That being said, though, I do have serious concerns about the safety and wisdom of running any endurance race on public roads. If I were any public safety official who takes my job seriously, I would have doubts about allowing such a race a permit to cross my jurisdiction without allocations being made of extra resources to escort riders to make sure they stay safe. The mere right to use public roads does not carry with it the privilege of doing so unsafely, whether the vehicle operator is a drunk motorist or a sleep-deprived cyclist. Neither one could be construed as a "safe" operator.

Additionally, this thread is unavoidably about RAAM, and it is an unavoidable consideration in our world today that the liability exposure of this race has just gone up tremendously after two deaths in two years. You can bet they will have insurance problems. I am somewhat amazed that there have not been more participants killed over the years, considering the requirements of the race.

While it would be an additonal tragedy, it would not surprise me if the race in its present form is discontinued as a consequence of what has happened this year and last. It has always been a fringe sport in cycling and the big money backing may simply not be there to overcome the inevitable insurance difficulties. It would also not surprise me if major changes are made as a condition of the race's continued existence. Why not a mandatory 24 hour resting period in the middle of the race for all participants? Or a requirement that team cars stay with racers at all times?

The organizers will need to seriously consider safety improvements in light of the tragedy of Mr. Breedlove's death. If they do not, then they are courting disaster.

BBDave

Ray
06-27-2005, 12:18 PM
First, it is my sincere expectation of anyone posting after the un-timley death of this much loved man show all the respect you can muster. This is a tragedy for everyone and nobody knows or may ever know the facts. The thread is an OBITUARY not a debate on ethics.

Show respect and concern.
I certainly meant and mean no disrespect at all. Bob Breedlove's death is a terrible tragedy for all of those who knew and loved him and is a great loss for the cycling community as a whole. That said, he took part in an ultra-endurance event, fully cognisant of the rewards and risks of such an endeavor. He died too young, but he died doing something he loved. In a sense, we should all be so lucky when our time comes.

Nonetheless, when I see the kind of knee-jerk "the motorist is always wrong (and probably a murderer) and the cyclist is never at fault" statements that inevitably follow any report of a cycling fatality, it does get my back up somewhat. From what we know about the accident and what we know about Bob Breedlove, he would probably accept full responsibility for his actions and the results, if he were able to do so.

To Bob Breedlove, RIP. But the rest of us will inevitably have these types of follow-up philosophical discussions, generally in the immediate aftermath of these sad events, because that's when its on our minds.

FWIW, I don't think RAAM should be discontinued, but I think people considering doing these types of events should be fully cognisant of the risks associated with it. I suspect most of the participants have given it enough thought to go in with their eyes wide open.

-Ray

JohnS
06-27-2005, 12:39 PM
FWIW, I don't think RAAM should be discontinued, but I think people considering doing these types of events should be fully cognisant of the risks associated with it. I suspect most of the participants have given it enough thought to go in with their eyes wide open.

-Ray
The rider may have considered how this race could impact (no pun intended) his life but do they consider how their actions intrude on others' lives? There are now two motorists that have to carry the memory of ending another human's life. BBDave is right. The race needs to change.

BumbleBeeDave
06-27-2005, 12:40 PM
. . . that I did not say RAAM SHOULD be discontinued. I only said it would not SURPRISE me if it were. Even if participants DO go into such events now fully cognizant of the risks, that does not eliminate the liabilitiy exposure of the organizers.

BBDave

OldDog
06-27-2005, 01:04 PM
Iowa is a farm state, the lad MAY be driving legally at 15 in the course of work, some states allow that. Any Iowan's care to comment.

RAAM has always fascinated me since it's inception. And Dr. Breedlove has been at the heart of it for a long long time. May God bless him and his family and friends.

boulder_courier
06-27-2005, 01:10 PM
I did not mean any disrespect for Bob Breedlove - Indeed, from all the testimonials from the people who knew him the world is a worse place without him.

However, any death should be investgated, debated and questioned why? in order to try to prevent it from happening again. I think the good Doctor would have wanted that....

Jim

BumbleBeeDave
06-27-2005, 01:16 PM
The crash happened just west of Trinidad, CO, which is in the southern part of the state on the Front Range and on I-25. But your point remains a good one. Many farm states have limited licenses avilable to those under 16 for use in farm-related situations. However, the news report I read specifically said the 15-year-old was unlicensed. If he had a farm license, I am assuming it would have said that.

BBDave

Bruce K
06-27-2005, 01:36 PM
Dave;

Just as an FYI, there WAS a race similar to RAAM for cars called the Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.

It was the brainchild of one of the editors at Car and Driver magazine.

It was completely ILLEGAL but it happened anyway and anyone could enter.

After several years of 100+mph dashes across the country it was finally ended due to stepped up police enforcement and potential liability to the organizers and the magazine.

Fortunately, no one was killed during one of the "Cannonball Runs".

BK

BumbleBeeDave
06-27-2005, 03:16 PM
. . . aka "The Big Blowhard" from lil' old Wyoming, NY. The last I heard, it had been replaced by a supposed "charity drive" called "One Lap Of America"--a timed rally that supposedly involved only legal speeds. Nevertheless, all the stories I saw about it in the magazine always seemed to feature photos of cars equipped with multiple radar detectors and huge pairs of binoculars.

The movies included "The Cannonball Run" with Burt Reynolds, and "The Gumball Rally" with, I believe, Michael Sarazen.

BBDave

BumbleBeeDave
06-27-2005, 03:18 PM
. . . the winning time was usually sub-30 hours. Given LA to NY is about 3000 miles, you do the math on average speed.

BBDave

Ginger
06-27-2005, 03:42 PM
First, it is my sincere expectation of anyone posting after the un-timley death of this much loved man show all the respect you can muster. This is a tragedy for everyone and nobody knows or may ever know the facts. The thread is an OBITUARY not a debate on ethics.

Show respect and concern.


Please show some respect. Start another thread if you want to continue conjecture, place blame, or discuss movies.


I did not know the man and never met him on the road, but it is a sad loss at a respected cycling event.

Mary Ann

BumbleBeeDave
06-27-2005, 04:07 PM
. . . in the doghouse AGAIN??

BBDave

BumbleBeeDave
06-29-2005, 09:51 AM
. . . that I ended this thread "distastefully."

Well, Andreu, you are absolutely right. I owe everyone an apology, most of all BigMac, who rightly intended this to be a memorial thread. I should have kept my big fat mouth shut, and I apologize to whoever may have been offended by any of my remarks above. They violated the spirit and intention of this thread, I was not thinking correctly, and I should not have said any of them. I hope this can in some way help heal whatever offense I may have given. I'll try very hard to consult my brain before engaging my mouth in the future.

BBDave

froze
06-30-2005, 01:09 AM
I smell some specious logic above....

Kid is too young to drive. If he isn't driving, the cyclist (who seems to have fallen asleep on his bike), slumps over and crashes into the ditch or fence on the other side of the road, but PROBABLY LIVES!

Now I smell some specious logic; it could have been anyone driving by at that moment, it could have been an 80 year old person and then you all would say the person was too old and shouldn't been on the road; it could have been a semi-truck driver, then you all would have said semi-truck drivers drive too fast for such large vehicles; IT COULD HAVE BEEN YOU DRIVING, then we could all have said you were too busy watching him ride not too notice he swerved. Some of those 15 year old kids in that part of the country have been driving since they were 8 on the farms, and the police said he took appropriate action to avoid the accident and was not breaking any traffic laws (except for the age); thats all that anyone could have done no matter the age or vehicle being driven.

What I'm really trying to say is not to judge the driver without more facts, the age doesn't make him automatically guilty, the only law he broke (as far as the police know at this time) was not being licensed but that doesn't make him a killer.