Questions raised over not cancelling cycling event that turned deadly

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 5/06/2013 10:04 am
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - In the wake of a fatal crash that occurred during the hree State Three Mountain Challenge, new questions concerning why the event was not cancelled due to poor weather conditions are surfacing.

Saturday afternoon, a cyclist identified as Antonio Jose Desousa Ribeiro, 49, of Jacksonville Florida died when his cycle collided with a car on the 400 block of Ochs Highway.

According to witnesses and police evidence at the scene, the cyclist lost control of the bicycle and drifted into the path of the oncoming car while both were in a curve.

"It's unfortunate that this happened and I pray for the families of the people who have been injured today. It is what it is and it's something we accept when we do this," said event participant Benny Doyle of North Carolina.

"It's horrible and there is no way to justify the death. It's horrible," said event participant Alan Beasley of Alabama.

The fatal crash wasn't the only problem during the event.

First responders told WDEF that prior to the fatality, a female cyclist crashed into an ambulance that was called in to the aid another cyclist who needed medical attention after taking a nasty fall. She was listed in serious condition at the time of that crash.

Several members of law enforcement questioned why the event was allowed to take start when many other outdoor event were cancelled due to very poor weather conditions.

"It was raining and a lot of people turned around and went home and a lot of people didn't come and those that came took a risk so it's like anything in life when you take a risk. I feel terrible that it happened," said event participant Mark Lazinski of Roswell Georgia.

"I think everybody that was out here knew what the risk were and I think you make your best decision and your best judgement and do what you need to do," said event participant Todd Murdoch of North Carolina.

Several cyclist who rode in the event said it attracts cyclist from all over the region and that it would have been almost impossible to cancel the ride and tell everyone to go back home.

WDEF attempted to talk to event organizers to ask why the ride was not cancelled do to poor weather but no one could be reached for comment.

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David - 5/6/2013 6:01 AM
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Just because riding a bicycle on Ochs Hwy is legal, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. I’m all for people being able to ride their bikes anywhere they choose and I support the laws that protect them but let’s be honest. There are some roads where you just shouldn’t ride. Ochs Hwy is one of them.
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