This one culminated in a loss of life. Sadly. This story comes to you thanks to an email to me a couple of days back from a reader in Taiwan.
The victim was a 72 year old rider. He was riding with four of his friends on a local road in Taiwan on 2/28/2009. The section of that road was a gentle downhill, and not much wide with little traffic. The bike was a BMC road model ( I don't recognize it. An SL01 Racer?). So it seems no one really observed what happened. The rider in question may have strayed away from the group by dashing out in front, but from the fact that we know his age, I hinge on the assumption that he may have been left behind by the group.
Now, there was an impact. With what, how and why, no one knows for sure. Though the victim wore a helmet, his face hit the tarmac and his chest was struck by the stem. Later in hospital, he breathed his last.
Trusting that the information given to me is true, below is the scene of the crash. The blood on the road is likely to be the cyclist's.
And here is the observation of the transmission chain (Campagnolo) from the victim's bike :
Notice carefully that the chain appears to be jammed. On the front side, the chain appears to have slipped from the big chainring. On the rear, it is tangled onto the derailleur and the latter is also in a very atypical/extreme position.
What may have happened was the derailleur and chain jammed, stopping the rear wheel at once and throwing the rider off his bike. This comes from primary observations. Did something get stuck in his derailleur causing this? Was the chain too short such that when the chain was shifted onto the biggest sprocket in the rear (combined with big chainring in front), the derailleur ran out of travel and the entire setup jammed? Could it have been that in this situation, the rider went into panic mode and somehow made up his mind that gripping both brakes as hard as he can to stop the bike would be the solution and that eventually caused the crash? It is also not known whether there was an obstruction in the road, an animal that came in the way or the probability of a hit-and-run case from a reckless motorist.
Put on your thinking caps here and lets do a brainstorm. We will try and come to a reasonable conclusion about what exactly happened and also how it could be avoided. That this cyclist eventually died should ring some alarms in everyone's mind who comes across this story.
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