Exmoor Beauty organiser defends response to serious incident

Cyclist airlifted to hospital after car collision

The organiser of the Exmoor Beauty Cycle Challenge has defended his firm's response to an accident during Sunday's event that left a rider with serious injuries.

The 61-year-old cyclist was on the steep descent of Dunkery Hill, Minehead, when he lost control and slid under a silver car which was travelling slowly in the opposite direction. He remained trapped under the vehicle for some time.

The bumper had to be removed from the car in order to free the injured man safely, at which point the driver left the scene. Avon and Somerset Police said they were not called and as such the driver’s details were not taken at the time. The driver has since come forward and is assisting them with their enquiries.

Event organiser Marcus Di-Vincenzo told BikeRadar that the priority at the time of the accident was the welfare of the rider and as it wasn’t a hit and run, it wasn’t on the minds of the medical crew or event staff to take the registration number of the driver.

He said the private medical technician crew was on the scene within 20 seconds thanks to an earlier risk assessment. The descent was identified as one of two where riders needed to be extra vigilant and as such had the crew stationed nearby.

Given where they were on the moor and the man’s injuries, Di-Vincenzo said the crew realised immediately the need for assistance and Devon Air Ambulance were called. The man was taken to Frenchhay Hospital, Bristol and following surgery, his injuries are no longer considered life-threatening.

He also criticised police for referring to the Exmoor Beauty as a race in their first press release which he felt gave the wrong impression about his event. He added that the rest of the event, which attracted over 600 riders, passed without further incident and that the thoughts of the organisers are with the injured man.

After early cycling flirtations with the Tour de France on childhood holidays, John Whitney fell for it hook, line and sinker in his mid-20s as an escape from the more sedate sports of his youth. As a classically trained news reporter, he snagged his dream job as a cycling writer straight out of college and is now fully immersed in the industry and wouldn't have it any other way.
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