Bill Ritter's bicycle accident: Companions on his rib-rattling ride don't want to meet the press
One of the more unusual aspects to the story about Bill Ritter's bicycle accident yesterday is the fact that the four people with whom he was riding when he fell -- a tumble that resulted in multiple rib fractures, for which he remains hospitalized at Denver Health -- still haven't been identified.
Today, it's probably easier for Bill Ritter to wince than smile.
What's the big secret? Is it because they're medical marijuana advocates, perhaps? Or maybe even Republicans?
Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer makes it clear the governor's office isn't hiding anything. Instead, the call is being made by the companions, at least two of whom have told Dreyer they don't want to be identified as having been on the bruising trek.
"We're trying to make as much information as possible available," Dreyer emphasizes. "We released a couple of written statements yesterday, did two news conferences and responded to dozens of individual media inquiries, because it's important that people know what happened and how the governor is doing."
Along those lines, Dreyer and other spokespersons have talked in general terms about a group of bicycling enthusiasts who Ritter joins on a regular basis.
"There's not a sign-up sheet that riders fill out when they go for rides with the governor," Dreyer says. "Two or three times a week, there's a group of folks who come to the residence and then head out for an hour, hour-and-a-half ride. Sometimes the governor is with them, sometimes he's not -- and the group changes all the time. It's a very loosely organized thing, including who happens to be on the ride on any given day." He calls the description of the participants offered by the Denver Post in today's edition "pretty accurate."
On Tuesday morning, Dreyer says four other riders were accompanying Ritter when he had his harsh introduction to the asphalt -- and because no formal accident report was filed by the Denver Police Department, those individuals aren't listed in the public record. Nonetheless, Dreyer continues, "I've personally talked to two of them for a couple of different reasons: One, to get information about what actually happened, and two, to pass along requests from reporters for interviews. I've asked if they want to talk to reporters and how they feel about having their names disclosed. And so far, they have declined interviews and asked for some privacy.
"Now that's so far, and that may change. We're continuing to talk to them. But these are just average folks who like to ride bicycles. It's not a political group. It's recreational. It's fun. And what happened yesterday, which was so horrible, and which had the potential of suddenly thrusting them into the limelight, it's out of the norm for them. I'm used to talk to members of the media, but for the majority of people, it's a foreign experience."
As for Ritter's current condition, Dreyer says an update will go out later this morning. After all, the governor doesn't have the option of keeping his accident to himself.