I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of 19 year old University of Colorado student and triathlete Alessandro Zarzur, a training partner and friend of Bermuda’s Erica Hawley.
My thoughts are with his family and friends and I am sure that I speak for the Bermuda triathlon community in offering his family our deepest condolences .
It would appear that Alessandro crossed a yellow line whilst descending and fell into the path of a pick up or van whilst trying to brake.
I am publishing the photograph below of Alessandro’s funeral, which many may find shocking, because I want to drum home, notably to parents whose children ride bikes in Bermuda and abroad, the importance of educating and reminding all bike users of the dangers of road riding and (see below) what they can do to minimize the risk.
It is so important that we constantly remind all triathletes and cyclists, especially the less experienced, of the real dangers of being on the road on a bike and emphasise to them that they should do take all precautions before heading out on the road and be constantly vigilant and cautious.
Here are some tips I published in a Bermuda Sun article in 2014 :
1. Make sure your bike has air in the tires, the brakes are working and everything is tightened down. I know an experienced cyclist who worked on a wheel and didn’t tighten it properly and forgot and the wheel came off. He was out for months. When riding on wet roads it is advisable to have a little less air in the tyres. Speak to your bike shop on the appropriate air pressure for your bike / wheels depending on road conditions and regularly check that your tyre pressure is correct for the conditions.
2. Make sure you are visible. Bright ,and/or reflective for night time, colours work best and have strong charged lights ( white at the front and flashing red at the back).
3. Wear a good helmet ( check with your bike store if uncertain about your helmet) with the strap tightened and if it suffers any impact replace it.
4. Make eye contact with drivers, especially at intersections and crossings, so you know they have seen you. Car drivers often assume that bikes are travelling slower than they sometimes are so judge badly when turning infront of you.
5. ALWAYS stay alert. Be aware of what is happening around you, including practicing looking behind you, not easy at first.
6. Look out for potholes and avoid slippery manhole covers, gravel, sand and painted lines.
7. When riding in a group send warnings back by shouting and hand signals. Learn the standard signals.
8. Think distances when riding behind vehicles and past park cars. Ride two feet out to stop cars trying to squeeze past you.
9. Ride as conservatively as possible especially when wet and cornering when wet or riding on unknown roads especially when descending or taking corners. Some vehicles, often on less used roads, cut corners so avoid riding too close to the center line in particular on corners when you can’t see what is around the corner.
10. Make your intentions clear early with hand signals and check over your shoulder before making a move.
And ofcourse, obey traffic signals and rules of the road and don’t take silly risks.