Saturday, February 24, 2018

Shock and anger

Cycling fraternity plans protest rides over Clinton Grant death


KILLED: Clinton Grant

Mark Fraser

Shock, anger and outrage spanned the reactions of people close to former national cycling champion Clinton Grant, who died yesterday after being knocked down on the Foreshore, Audrey Jeffers Highway.

“It was a shock and a real blow to the fraternity right about now . We are still trying to come to terms with what happened and we really want to send condolences to his family,” said Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF)  president Rowena Williams yesterday.

When contacted by phone, Williams was at the time involved in an executive meeting of the TTCF and said her Federation would stage a protest ride, using the Southern Games Fun and Health ride from Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre, Monday as a platform to promote cycling safety on the nation’s roads.

Former top cyclist Gene “Geronimo” Samuel said it was “real sad and unbelievable, the lawlessness of the country.”

“Every day we have altercations with drivers  on the highway and I was training this morning  and nearly went on the foreshore and my mind just told me not to,” Samuel said as he expressed his anger at what happens on the shoulders at highways nationwide.

He said insurance companies should be able to revoke drivers’ licences when they discover that a driver used the shoulder improperly or to overtake

“The cycling fraternity is not going to sit down on this...Drivers don’t seem to know that we (cyclists) are entitled to take up a lane. We are  entitled to  ride two abreast. It is the law and they treat us as though we should not be there,” Samuel said, adding that the TTCF is going to take some recommendations to amend the law to the Cabinet. He did not identify the law or specify the proposed amendments.

According to a Ministry of Sport press release yesterday, Minister Anil Roberts was “shocked, dismayed, saddened”.

Roberts said the former national cyclist and coach had dedicated his life to the sport of cycling, representing the country at regional and international levels and even after leaving active competition, was still involved through his coaching of the Bike Smith Cycle Team in Arima where he guided Keana Weston to the female Junior Caribbean Road Championships title.

“Clinton Grant was a true national patriot, even after he dedicated years of national service through his representation of the red, white and black. He chose to give back to the local cycling fraternity via his coaching efforts and his active promotion and advocacy for the sport. He was an example of how to be a great cyclist, a great coach and a great citizen. The country will mourn both the athlete and the man. At this time, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Grant family and ask  the nation to keep them in their prayers, I also ask that we pray for young cyclist Rosanna Abraham who was training alongside Grant, 42, at the time and was also injured in the accident.”

Minister Roberts also urged motorists to be more vigilant on the road and respectful of cyclists who do road training as part of their endurance conditioning.

“There have been at least six incidents reported in the last three weeks regarding motorists not demonstrating the necessary caution with cyclists on the roads. I am urging our citizens to exercise more patience and courtesy on our roads, the cyclist you come across training on the road could be our next Olympic medallist, or national hero or it could simply be one of your own Trinbagonian  brothers just giving back to his community and country,” he said.