Cyclist Dies Trying to Avoid a Pothole During Bike Race

cyclistsThe popular LOTOJA bike race from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming took a very tragic turn last weekend, after a cyclist died while swerving to avoid a pothole. And in the 30 years that this race has been going on, this is the first accident resulting in death.

Robert Verhaaren was simply crossing a bridge over the Snake River on Highway 89 just south of Jackson, when according to Sheriff Jim Whalen, he "over-corrected, lost control of the bicycle, and crashed into the guardrail." At that point, he fell over the side of the bridge and fell into the river 35 feet below, which was only a foot deep.


And if that scenario doesn't paint a horrific enough picture already of how this poor man's life ended, the fact that he left behind a wife and three children makes it even more gut-wrenching to think about.

This is such a terrible freak accident, and considering what an avid cyclist Verhaaren was, the odds of something like this happening just seem so small. He was used to riding long races and he knew how to handle himself on that bike, and it's just so unfortunate that something as small as a pothole was what caused his life to be cut short.

Even the communications director for LOTOJA, Dave Bern, was shocked and saddened and said: "We've been fortunate, just blessed. People have been careful, motorists have been careful, and this didn't even involve a car. We always thought that it would involve a car."

My condolences go out to this man's poor family, and to all of the other cyclists who happened to witness his accident that day. This story is definitely an important reminder that you can never take anything for granted, because your life can be forever changed in an instant.

What words of sympathy would you offer to Robert Verhaaren's loved ones?


Image via Philms/Flickr

Read More >