Top

blog

Stories

 

Richie Cunningham claims bike rage incident, sheriff's office not sure

Categories: News

richie.cunningham.hospital.205x205.jpg
Photos, video below.
Richie Cunningham is an Australian triathlete living in Boulder, not a sitcom character -- and July 4 wasn't an especially happy day for him. Cunningham was injured badly enough to require hospitalization after a bicycle crash he says was caused by a driver experiencing a moment of road rage.

Thus far, however, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office has not endorsed that theory. Law enforcers know the identity of the driver in question, but at this writing, they're not ready to charge him with a crime.

At about 9 a.m. on July 4, according to the Boulder Daily Camera, Cunningham and fellow triathletes Ben Hoffman, Patrick Evoe and Joe Gambles were riding on the 15000 block of North 83rd Street when a car passed them over a double-yellow line, with the driver honking as he went past and headed down a hill.

richie.cunningham.accident.site.jpg
Near where the crash took place.
"It just went flying by as we were starting to go down the hill," Cunningham told the Camera. "Then, halfway down the hill, all of a sudden he just slammed on the brakes."

This action forced Cunningham to hit his brakes so hard that he flew over his handlebars, separating his shoulder and breaking his elbow in the process.

Afterward, Cunningham tweeted this photo of him in the hospital:

richie.cunningham.hospital.jpg
Richie Cunningham.
Since the crash, Cunningham has conducted a number of interviews with local media outlets, including CBS4. He characterizes the driver's actions as far from innocent: "You don't do that for any other reason than to cause someone harm," he told the station, adding, "He was just one of those angry guys who was in a hurry, wanted to be angry." He adds that his injuries are likely to prevent him from competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, a September event in Las Vegas at which he's previously earned several top-five finishes.

ben.hoffman.jpeg
Ben Hoffman.
Who was behind the wheel of the car in question? Cunningham tweeted that Hoffman chased down the vehicle and managed to get its license-plate number. These digits were subsequently shared with the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, and Rick Brough, speaking for the BCSO, confirms that investigators have identified and spoken with the suspect.

Even so, charges have yet to be filed. Brough says additional witnesses still must be quizzed before detectives can determine if the incident was "intentional, reckless or just an accident" -- and that conclusion will determine what counts, if any, will eventually be brought.

Look below to see the CBS4 report.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa September 2012: "James Ernst cited in case prompted by bike-rage video that went viral."


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
32 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Update -- Boulder Sheriff's Office: No charges in accident involving triathlete Richie Cunningham

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office announced there will not be any charges pressed against the driver in an accident that injured Boulder triathlete Richie Cunningham, saying an investigation revealed the driver stopped to avoid another car and not because of road rage, according to officials.

But Cunningham said he still maintains that the driver -- Shepherd Wolfe -- was not trying to avoid another car and was acting out of anger.

"There was a car in front of him but it wasn't close," Cunningham said. "The driver was just using that as an excuse, as his way out of getting charged."

According to investigators, Cunningham and three other professional triathletes -- Ben Hoffman, Patrick Evoe and Joe Gambles -- were riding north in the 15400 block of 83rd Street Thursday on July 4 at around 9 a.m.

As the riders approached a downhill turn, a truck driven by Wolfe, 46, of Fort Collins, passed the cyclists while honking. Cunningham and the cyclists then said Wolfe stopped his truck in front of them, causing Cunningham to brake and flip over his handlebars.

Cunningham -- who suffered injuries to his elbow, shoulder and back -- told investigators he thought Wolf stopped out of road rage.

But Wolfe told investigators he honked at the cyclists to let them know he was passing them, according to a release from the sheriff's office. After passing them, Wolfe and another driver in the area told investigators Wolf was forced to make an abrupt stop to avoid hitting a car in front of him as he came down the hill..

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

The only way a cyclist can run into the back of a car is:

1.  They fell asleep.

2. They are brain dead.           or.......................................

3.  they are lying.    

Stephan Reuchlein
Stephan Reuchlein

Wow, just wow, anything to blame drivers. Learn how to control your bicycle. And in no way should a motor vehicle have to cross a double yellow line to pass any bicycle. Head on collisions are more deadly than a bicycle stopping to allow faster traffic pass.

Deborah Watts
Deborah Watts

Sounds like my Uncle in-law Sheriff Pelle, didn't give a crap! About my abusive husbands threats, to make one call and have me buried in the desert, and he has seen the DEAD BODIES in the trunk of his Out Law Gang friends. Why would the Sheriff care about bike rage?

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Somehow I just don't feel sorry for him regardless of who was at fault. Do the speed limit or get off the road and stop impeding traffic. Learning how to stay on your bike during rapid deceleration is an added bonus. If your bike can stop faster than you can handle that means you're not in control which is reckless driving.

Martin Koenigsberg
Martin Koenigsberg

Are Boulder bikers always pushing on the driver/biker line? Are they incredibly aggressive, self righteous and holier than thou? Yes yes and yes again. But it there any real virulent/violent backlash against them? Probably not. I think the odds are with plain old lack of knowledge or mistake much more. No matter how entitled or obnoxious they become- we are proud of them and usually over encourage them. Boulderians love their biking brethren and I've yet to see any serious angry response to the HUNDREDS of poor/illegal/dickheaded biking decisions I've seen in just two years here... maybe it does exist... but surely not in Boulder?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

100% the FAULT of the BIKER for Following Too Closely and Not Maintaining Control of their vehicle (bike).


RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@Stephan Reuchlein Thanks for expressing the collective psychosis and overweaning sense of entitlement of many drivers in Colorado.  Bicycles are vehicles and bicyclists have the same right as motorists to travel the roads.  Because bicycles afford no protection from collision though, motorists who use their vehicle as weapons against them are particularly reprehensible.  Any such allegation is very serious, and any motorist found to have deliberately injured a bicyclist in such a manner should be permanently deprived of a license to drive and serve prison time.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Stephan Reuchlein ... the NEW LAW passed for whiny traffic-obstructing bikers ALLOWS cars and trucks to cross any double yellow line in order to pass those lane-hogging slow-riding spandex peacocks.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Josh Bradley Tough post, Josh. Thanks for weighing in.

drew.aslin
drew.aslin

@Martin Koegnigsberg: Boulder Bike Brigade: ...They're really just Massachusetts drivers in disguise!

Seriously though, best comment ever! I mean, weren't those bike paths (and Harley Davidson á la saddlebags-wide bike lanes) built for a reason?

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Martin Koenigsberg Very interesting post, Martin -- one we're going to make an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Martin Koenigsberg 

Boulder Bikers = Spandex Peacocks


Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay If the resident troll says it's the bike's fault, then you must assume it was the driver's fault. As always, thanks for the profound insight. 

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@RobertChase @fishingblues What a wonderful response.  Took you all day to think of that "zinger", right nimrod?

A mental giant like yourself likely runs into the back of vehicles often, falling under category #2.. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase "sense of entitlement of many drivers"

Imagine the sense of entitlement that Motor Vehicle operators must have to think they can drive on Public Roadways ... without idiot pedestrians and obstructionist slow moving bicycles playing in the middle of the street.


BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Fletcherneedsajob Bikes, when on the road, have to obey the traffic laws like every other vehicle on the road, which includes not following too closely.  

  1. Every person riding a bicycle or electrical assisted bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this article, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Said riders shall comply with the rules set forth in this section and section 42-4-221, and, when using streets and highways within incorporated cities and towns, shall be subject to local ordinances regulating the operation of bicycles and electrical assisted bicycles as provided in section 42-4-111.

http://colobikelaw.com/law.php 

Following too closely. 

(1) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway. 

http://www.coloradodot.info/library/traffic/traffic-manuals-guidelines/fed-state-co-traffic-manuals/model-traffic-code

Umadbro?  Aw, u totally madbro.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Fletcherneedsajob

HipTip: Traffic LAW says it was the FOLLOWING Vehicle's (bike) Fault.

Grow a brain and you might attain a job.

hth.

71813
71813

@DonkeyHotay

Why do you hate healthy people who leave smaller carbon footprints than yourself?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Fletcherneedsajob "but undue risks from improper driving are a little different. "

So stay off the PUBLIC ROADWAYS if you aren't willing to assume the INHERENT RISKS of PUBLIC ROADWAYS.

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @BackOffImStarving I realize I take risks, but undue risks from improper driving are a little different. 

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

@BackOffImStarving @DonkeyHotay I have, repeatedly, been passed by a car and had them slam on the brakes to complete a turn in front of me. Luckily I've been able to stop, but barely. I wasn't following too closely until I was cut off abruptly. 

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay Just out of curiosity, do you bike much? Do you bike on streets? I'm curious what your real world experience is when it comes to interacting with vehicles on a bicycle. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Fletcherneedsajob

There is nothing reckless in the fact pattern given for the car driver; checking one's brakes, slowing down after passing, are not reckless.

It IS reckless for the bicyclists to be going SO FAST they cannot safely stop for or avoid the vehicle in front of them.

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

@BackOffImStarving If you can prove that a driver was negligent and stopped abruptly or unnecessarily then that driver can be found at fault. Gaulin v. Templin, 162 Colo. 55 (1967). Huntoon v. TCI Cablevision of Colo., Inc., 969 P.2d 681 (Colo. 1998). It appears that there were enough eyewitnesses to verify that the driver was reckless. While you are correct that the driver to the rear is presumed to be negligent, it's not cut and dry. But those nuances may be lost on you kids. 
Also, my username is from over a decade ago. Its literal meaning is not applicable these days. Cheers! No, not madbro, just amusedbro. 

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...