Civic association votes to sponsor annual Labor Day bicycle races

January 25, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

The Crofton Civic Association voted 9-1 last night to sponsor the annual Labor Day bicycle races in the community despite an accident last year that left a local man's arm nearly severed. Community leaders and a race official said they saw no reason not to

bring the event back for Crofton's 30th anniversary celebration.

"We thought about not having the race," said Jeff Warren, a member of Team Snow Valley, an Annapolis-based racing group that promotes the event. "It was a serious accident. But we believe there is no reason not to continue the race."

Walter Beckerman, 45, of Crofton, who was riding in the race, has not yet recovered from the Sept. 5 accident in which he went head-first through the back of a car window, slicing his right upper arm to the bone on broken glass.

Police said Mr. Beckerman and another biker were in a battle for last place when he crashed into the back of a car parked in the center of the racing course just 50 feet from the finish line.

Race officials said the race had finished several minutes earlier, and all racers were supposed to have left the course. They said Mr. Beckerman crashed into the car that carries spare tires for racers.

Mr. Beckerman was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he underwent hours of surgery to repair a severed artery.

Mr. Beckerman's wife, Arlene, said last night that her husband spent 13 days at Shock Trauma and is still awaiting tests to see if he will regain full use of his right hand.

She did not want to comment on the race and said the family has retained a lawyer.

At last night's association meeting, Mr. Warren assured board members that his group has proper liability insurance to cover accidents.

Crofton Town Manager Barbara Swann said she routinely has the community's lawyers review the insurance to make sure it is adequate.

Last night, some board members questioned other aspects of the Tour de Crofton, which attracts more than 330 bicyclists from several states who compete in a variety of races around the circular 3.4-mile Crofton Parkway.

Those complaints included everything from cyclists changing clothes in cars to residents who live along Crofton Parkway feeling trapped in their homes when the races are run.

"There is no question that in an event of this size, you are going to inconvenience some people," Mr. Warren said.

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