DUNEDIN — Three bicyclists were injured — one with life-threatening injuries — after a biker crashed Sunday during a long-distance ride in a pack of 30 cyclists, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.
All three were wearing helmets but the most seriously injured man suffered head trauma, deputies said.
Members of the Suncoast Cycling Club met Sunday morning in a parking lot at Bayshore Boulevard and Curlew Road, said Ray Booth, the club's treasurer. The club rides each Saturday and Sunday, and on this day planned to ride to the campus of the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center and back.
On mile 53 of the 57-mile ride, about noon, the cyclists traveled together in a tight pack, heading north on County Road 1.
"That's the key," Booth said. "You want to be close to the guy in front of you because he's blocking the wind."
As they neared Michigan Boulevard, Roberto Singson, 53 of Clearwater, touched his front tire against a rider in front of him, deputies said.
Singson lost control and fell, slamming his head on the ground. As he fell, James Poitras, 60, and John Burchfield, 55, both of Oldsmar, crashed into the fallen biker and both fell.
Singson was flown to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries. Poitras was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital for a broken right clavicle. Burchfield was treated on scene for scratches and abrasions.
Booth said there are about 300 members in the club. There have been accidents before — he said it was about a year ago that someone in the club was last sent to the hospital because of a crash.
"Highly skilled," is how Booth described the skill level of the men involved in Sunday's crash.
Deputies said it appeared to be an accident.