Orlando Ride to Honor Winter Park Cyclist Run Over by Fire Engine

By Susan Jacobson | Orlando Sentinel
Posted 9:03 p.m. EDT, October 27, 2011

WINTER PARK — When the monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride begins Friday afternoon in Orlando, one member of the group will be missing.

Cullen Detamore, 18, a young father, was killed Monday evening when he fell off his new bike and was run over by a Winter Park fire engine on Lakemont Avenue in front of Winter Park Memorial Hospital.

Friday's ride is dedicated to Detamore, who died riding what's known as a fixed-gear bicycle. He had taken the sky-blue custom bike home just two days before his death, said close friend Hunter Carroll, 18, who said he got Detamore interested in bicycling about a year ago.

Fixed-gear bicycles, or "fixies," have no freewheel and so cannot coast. When the bicycle is moving, the pedals are moving. Detamore's Leader-brand bicycle had no brakes — a violation of state law, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Fixies tend to weigh less, cost less and require less maintenance because they have fewer parts, said Jason Lee, sales manager at Orange Cycle in College Park. Aficionados think the bicycles offer riders more control and a more-strenuous workout, said Michael Blackshaw, owner of Ace Metric Bicycle Shoppe in Winter Park. Some Tour de France riders train on the bikes, he said — though not necessarily without brakes.

Fixed-gear bicycles are popular in velodrome racing, which is done in arenas on banked oval tracks, Lee said.

Highway Patrol investigators say no charges are likely in the crash that killed Detamore.

The accident happened just after the firetruck driver made a right turn onto a side street. A witness told troopers that Detamore appeared to be trying to outrun the truck, turned right to try to avoid a collision and lost control, they said.

Attorneys for Detamore's family also are investigating.

"The injuries are of course catastrophic because it's the death of a young person," said Orlando lawyer Mark NeJame, who represents the family in a potential personal-injury case. "It's a terrible, tragic situation."

Critical Mass, usually held on the last Friday of the month in more than 300 cities worldwide, is a group ride to promote safe cycling and bicycling as an alternative means of transportation. It began in San Francisco in 1992.

Friday's memoriald ride, scheduled to start with a prayer, will begin between 5 and 5:30 p.m. at Orlando Loch Haven Park, across the street from the parking garage, organizers said. Cyclists plan to place laminated copies of Detamore's Facebook profile page, which pictures him riding the blue bicycle, on their spokes.

No matter who is found at fault, Detamore's friends have a message for motorists.

"People just need to look out for bicyclists," Carroll said. "They need to pay attention."