The family of a cyclist who died in a crash in a Kansas criterium last June has this week filed a wrongful death petition. Casey Saunders crashed into steel crowd-control barriers during the Tour of Kansas City and the family claims that race organisers exhibited ‘reckless and wanton disregard of the safety of race participants’ following reports that these were not properly secured.
The Kansas City Star reports witnesses as saying that Saunders’ crash knocked back one barrier meaning that he then collided with the exposed edge of the next one.
The lawsuit claims that Saunders, “… hit the end of the barrier head-on at approximately 25-30 miles per hour causing his forehead to be impaled by the metal end of the exposed barrier resulting in a fatal head injury.”
The newspaper reports that this style of barrier would usually be secured to adjacent ones with cable ties. This was reportedly only done after Saunders had crashed.
The family is suing race director Matt Maher; his company, Prologue Racing; USA Cycling, which sanctioned the race and set regulations; and Lake Shore Athletic Services, Inc. which is believed to have provided the steel barriers.
The lawsuit also claims that organisers did not provide appropriate on-site emergency medical services. It states, “no ambulance/EMS was available to provide first aid and other medical care, treatment or transport to Casey for a significant period of time.”
Saunders’ mother, Jill, said: “As an elite racer, who loved and lived for the joy of cycling, Casey always considered the other riders’ safety as well as his own. This never should have happened, plain and simple.
“We are devastated by this preventable tragedy and miss our son terribly every day, but we are committed to pursue this to get answers. It is what Casey would have wanted ensure the future safety for all cyclists so this never happens again.”