Colo. governor to spend night in hospital after bike crash |

Colo. governor to spend night in hospital after bike crash

Associated Press Writer

DENVER – Doctors planned to keep Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter hospitalized Tuesday night after he broke several ribs in a bicycle accident, his spokesman said.

Ritter fractured five or six of his ribs after colliding with another cyclist, but he was in stable condition and resting at Denver Health Medical Center, his spokesman Evan Dreyer said at an afternoon news conference. He said the governor was in good spirits, laughing and joking with hospital staff and his wife, Jeannie.

Dreyer said Ritter was one of five bicyclists about 21/2 miles north of the governor’s mansion shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday when his wheel hit the wheel of a man in front of him. The other cyclist had a minor wrist injury and wasn’t hospitalized, Dreyer said. Dreyer said the cyclists were going about 15 mph at the time.

None of the other cyclists were named.

Dreyer said Ritter was still in charge of the state but it wasn’t clear when the governor would be able to return to work. Dreyer said several appointments were turned over Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, including reading to fourth-graders for the national Read Across America Day.

“This group of fourth-graders actually wrote get-well cards for the governor,” Dreyer said.

He said Ritter would be at the hospital overnight and that doctors would have a better idea Wednesday of when he can be released.

Ritter is a cycling enthusiast. In June, he rode in the 52-mile Elephant Rock Ride south of Denver to promote a new cycling safety law. He also has spoken with seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, who has a home in Aspen, about reviving bicycle racing in Colorado.

Colorado used to host a bicycle stage race in the 1970s and 80s. It was known first as the Red Zinger Classic and later the Coors Classic. It last ran in 1988.

Ritter, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, wants to remind people how important it is to take that precaution, Dreyer said.

“It saves lives and it prevents much more serious injuries,” he said.

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