So... I'm writing up a blog about a bill requiring children to wear helmets while riding bikes -- and Representative Larry Liston's amendment to make boys also wear crush resistant athletic cups -- when word surfaces about Governor Bill Ritter injuring himself in a bicycle accident.
Seconds later, I reached Ritter spokesman Craig Bannister, who provided a few details. "The governor rides a loop with his friends a couple of times a week. They were riding this morning, and it looks like one of the other bikers clipped him and they went crashing down together."
Was Ritter, who's at Denver Health with likely rib injuries, wearing a helmet? Bannister says "yes" -- but before I could ask if he was also wearing a crush resistant athletic cup, the call dropped, and he hasn't returned it. The same goes for Ritter's chief spokesman, Evan Dreyer. If either Dreyer or Bannister calls back, we'll update this item. In the meantime, look below for the official statement:
STATEMENT ON GOV. RITTER ACCIDENT
Shortly after 6 a.m. this morning, Gov. Ritter was involved in a bicycle accident at 23rd Ave. and High St. in Denver. He is being treated at Denver Health Medical Center for several injuries. It appears he has multiple rib fractures on his right side.
The Governor rides with a group of friends two to three times a week, and this morning was with a group of four other riders when he and another rider collided. The Governor is in good spirits, laughing and joking with hospital staff and his wife Jeannie.
Update, 12:30 p.m.: Here's Evan Dreyer's account of Ritter's accident.
"He was out with four other riders," Dreyer says; he doesn't identify them, saying he doesn't know who they were. The group was "maybe twenty minutes, half an hour into their ride, and near 23rd and High, as best as I can tell, the governor and the rider in front of him touched tires -- and the governor went down and the other rider went down.
"I don't know exactly what caused the two bikes to come together -- whether somebody slipped on some ice, or if the front rider slowed down unexpectedly. But for whatever reason, they touched tires."
Dreyer heard anecdotally that the other rider in the accident may have hurt his wrist; he doesn't know if the injury was serious enough to require hospitalization. Ritter, for his part, was transported by ambulance to Denver Health. At the time of his call, Dreyer said doctors were still examining Ritter, but "the ribs seem to be the thing. He's also got some bumps and bruises and scrapes."
Yes, Ritter was wearing a helmet.
"He always wears a helmet when he rides," Dreyer points out. "One of the things he said to me this morning was, 'Anyone who rides without a helmet is crazy.' The message he has for people who ride is to always make sure you wear your helmet -- because he did bump his head as he was going down. He said, 'It's a good thing I had my helmet on.'"
When quizzed about whether Ritter was also wearing the sort of crush resistant athletic cup Liston promoted in his amendment pitch yesterday, Dreyer first tries to gloss over the question and then says, with a laugh, "I'm trying to take the high road."
That makes one of us.