Race organisers face lawsuit after death of cyclist in criterium crash

Casey Saunders died after collision with crash barriers

Casey Saunders died in a race in June 2016

(Image credit: Facebook)

A race organiser in America is facing a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of a rider who died from injuries sustained after crashing into barriers.

29-year-old Casey Saunders was racing in the Tour of Kansas City criterium race in June 2016 when he crashed, suffering a fatal head injury.

In the lawsuit, the Kansas City Star reports, Saunders' family claim that the organisers showed "reckless and wanton disregard of the safety of Plaintiff and the other race participants because the conduct created an unreasonably high degree of risk of substantial harm."

The family are suing race director Matt Maher and his company Prologue Racing, as well as USA Cycling, which sanctioned the race, and Lake Shore Athletic Services, Inc., which the family says provided the race barriers.

The lawsuit claims that Saunders died after crashing into the barriers, which were not zip-tied together. This meant that he knocked one barrier backwards, before hitting the second 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."

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According to the lawsuit, there was then a lack of emergency medical support with "no ambulance/EMS was available to provide first aid and other medical care, treatment or transport to Casey for a significant period of time."

Both USA Cycling and the race organisers expressed their condolences to Saunders' family after his death, but apparently did not provide comment when approached by the Kansas City Star.

Jill Saunders, Casey's mother, said that the family were bringing the lawsuit to improve safety for future races.

"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,” she said. "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."

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