An SUV driver dramatically interrupted the Mack Cycle Key Biscayne Triathlon Trilogy on Sunday. The Rickenbacker Causeway was supposed to be closed for the race, but the driver of the SUV inched out in the way the pack of racers who were riding about 40 mph. Miguel Tellez, the leader of the pack and one of the area’s best triathletes, struck the SUV and went flying over it. Luckily for Tellez, he survived with a cut on his knee, a gash in his head, and a concussion. Check out the Sun-Sentinel article and photos of the race, plus get a little more detail on the location of the crash at Spokes ‘n’ Folks. A participant in the race also offered a more firsthand perspective at BeginnerTriathlete.com.
This isn’t your usual issue of a one-on-one collision where the standard rules of the road apply. The road was supposed to be closed for the race, yet somehow a car managed to sneak in. We always like to blame the driver, and maybe it was their fault. But where was the police officer whose job it was to keep vehicles off the course?
This reminds me of the incident at a bicycle race last June in Matamoros, Mexico. A photo of that incident at Sports Crackle Pop! shows a cop conveniently pulled out of the way of a drugged motorist who slammed into a pack of cyclists. While I’m grateful that this past Sunday’s incident didn’t kill anyone, I think it shows that Miami’s cops are as good at managing road closures for races as are Mexico’s finest. (EDITORS NOTE: the road closure was handled by the Miami-Dade County Police and not the City of Miami Police Department.)
And while we’re at it, let me point out a difference between cycle racing and auto racing. Has anyone ever heard of a race car in an event like the 24 Hours of LeMans running into a car that had strayed onto the course in the middle of the race? Yet here you see two examples for a cycle race. Perhaps race organizers and officials need to rethink how they close roads for events like these.
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