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Old 06-16-10, 05:38 PM   #1
c.miller64
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Racing Across America bicyclist critically injured when struck by car.

http://www.kansas.com/2010/06/16/136...ents_Container

Very sad. Prayers to Diego and his family.
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Old 06-16-10, 06:23 PM   #2
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I ride that very spot many times a month. I'm hoping this part is wrong:

"According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Ballesteros was riding east in the center of the shoulder on the left-hand side of the highway."

At that spot 254 is a divided highway with a wide grassy median. Kansas law says on divided roadways like that, bicyclists may ride as close to the side of the road as practicable on either the left or right side. However, the right-side shoulder is 10' wide with a 3' rumble strip next to the right lane. The left shoulder is only 3' wide and I don't recall rumble strips on that side. Can't imagine why a cyclist would be in the left shoulder (the race route stays on 254 there). Also missing is any mention of the follow-vehicle. I can't recall ever seeing a RAAM rider come through here without its chase vehicle being within 100 yds or so.

All that said, it's a tragedy. And unfortunately far too many citizens will wonder what a bike was doing out there instead of asking what on earth the driver was doing. Very, very sad for the rider; very, very sad for all cyclists, really.

Godspeed!
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Old 06-16-10, 06:34 PM   #3
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maybe he was riding on the other side because the rumble strips often mean that the shoulder is filthy
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Old 06-16-10, 06:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
I ride that very spot many times a month. I'm hoping this part is wrong:

"According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Ballesteros was riding east in the center of the shoulder on the left-hand side of the highway."
That part is wrong, he was definitely traveling on the right-hand shoulder.
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Old 06-17-10, 09:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by c.miller64 View Post
That part is wrong, he was definitely traveling on the right-hand shoulder.
You're right. The police spokesman corrected the original report. He was traveling on the right-hand shoulder. I've ridden that very stretch of 254 a few times and had no problems to speak of. It was probably just a freak accident--the DA office has not yet filed charges. I wonder if the support vehicle was in the usual proximity.
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Old 06-18-10, 12:12 AM   #6
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according to the report I saw, the support vehicle had gone ahead temporarily.
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Old 06-20-10, 02:15 PM   #7
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Update from www.kansas.com (the Wichita Eagle) -- cyclist still in Wesley Medical Center, expected to be in hospital two more weeks.
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Old 06-20-10, 03:47 PM   #8
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They breifly mentioned this accident at the awards banquet Saturday night. They said that he would recover fully but couldn't comment on the details. As far as his support goes, during the daylight hours you can support your riders using "leapfrog" support. His support car may have been doing that or they may have left him briefly to go ahead and get gas. We rode as little as possible without the support vehicle right behind our riders. It's just thet safest way to go. Unfortunately an inattentive driver was in the wrong place at the wrong time...
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Old 06-24-10, 08:11 PM   #9
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Saw this update on a Kansas cycling blog:

"Well it is time to keep everyone informed with what is going on with Diego Ballesteros, the Spanish “Race Across America” rider. He was moved to a regular room at Wesley Medical Center yesterday afternoon. He still does not have any feeling from his waist or so down. He has a very positive outlook but says it is very hard under the circumstances. His doctors have told him that they feel the paralysis is due to severe inflammation. He did have 4 broken vertebrae but the spinal cord was intact. He also has 4 broken ribs and road rash galore, from face to toe!

"His girlfriend, Ana, arrived Saturday eve following 24hrs of travel. Two from his support crew, Mattias and Chavi, remain to help him through the red tape involved with this kind of situation. What insurance covers and which insurance covers what, has been a real headache.

"Their goal is to find a medical airplane to airlift him back home to Spain. The cost is prohibitive and whether or not insurance will cover is still in question. His girlfriend only has 10 vacation days and so she is hopeful all will work out. Another option is a rehab hospital in Colorado until he can board a regular flight. A local couple have opened their house (2 blocks from WMC) to these 3 to keep their cost of stay at a minimum. They are surprised at Kansan’s generosity and concern. (I’m not.)"
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Old 07-13-10, 11:04 PM   #10
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Update: A local government official befriend Diego Ballesteros while he was in the hospital and advanced him the $21,000 necessary to fly him back to Spain. He's paralyzed from the waist down. Funds are being sought to recoup the expenses (donation details included in the attached story).

The driver was uninsured; the rider has racked up a $350,000 medical bill.

It's not clear whether he will ever walk again.

Story here:

http://www.kansas.com/2010/07/10/139...ist-wants.html
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Old 07-14-10, 10:28 AM   #11
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Thanks for the update. It's very unfortunate. I hope that he is able to walk back into Wichita one day. I don't understand why his follow vehicle left him "to prepare" for a rider exchange. That doesn't make sense. Other than in the beginning of the race, I doubt our riders rode more than a 1/2 mile without a vehicle behind them for the entire race.
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Old 08-23-10, 10:37 PM   #12
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Update:

- No charges were filed against the driver who struck the racer (Diego Ballesteros).
- Ballesteros is back in Spain, still recuperating.

"He will never be able to walk again and his apartment in his hometown of Barbastro is a 4th floor walk-up. He will always need help getting into and out of his wheelchair."


http://www.kansascyclist.com/news/20...ntent=My+Yahoo
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