Burry Stander, one of the top cross-country mountain bike racers, died on Thursday after been hit by a taxi while on a training ride. The 25-year-old South African was riding on the South Coast with his wife, pro rider Cherise Stander, when he was struck and killed. The 2009 U-23 cross-country world champ, Stander had competed in the Beijing and London Olympics and had won the fifth round of the 2012 World Cup.
The reaction on social media drew attention to the uneasy relationship between cyclists and the cars that dominate their training grounds. "Shocking news about Burry Stander's tragic death. Time to stand up for cyclists rights on the roads," wrote South African rugby player Victor Matfield on Twitter. Robbie Hunter, who rides for Team Radio Shack, tweeted: "I seriously hope this idiot who is responsible fries in Jail for life!!! #BurryStander NationalHero...."
Considering the number of high-profile—and often tragic—cyclist/car collisions in the past couple years (Iñaki Lejarreta, killed; Bradley Wiggins, injured; Euskaltel Cabedo, killed; Carla Swart, killed—too many to name) have training rides become the most dangerous element of any pro sport? And what will it take for that to change?