Cyclist crash fatality is first in monument

For the first time, a cyclist has died after crashing in Colorado National Monument, according to the National Park Service.

Stanley Dodson, 65, of Madison, Wis., died Sunday from injuries he suffered when he crashed his bicycle on Rim Rock Drive, according to a news release from the Park Service.

Madison retired this year as a zoology professor at the University of Wisconsin, said Jeff Hardin, chairman of the zoology department.

“We just celebrated his career; he just recently retired,” Hardin said. “So he was just beginning this new phase of his life. That’s what makes it particularly tragic in many ways that he died now.”

Dodson worked for the university from 1970 until 2009.

The Grand Junction Fire Department received a report of a seriously injured cyclist at
12:22 p.m. Saturday, said spokesman Mike Page. Firefighters arrived at the scene at 12:27.

Dodson was heading east down Rim Rock Drive, about a mile from the east entrance, at around 25 mph. Witnesses saw him hit the pavement and called 911.

Firefighters took Dodson to St. Mary’s Hospital, where he died the next day,  the Park Service said.

Dodson was an avid cyclist who made many trips to Colorado with his wife, Ginny, for research and for cycling, Hardin said.

“He loved Colorado. He did field work in Colorado,” Hardin said. “This bike ride for him was a ritual. In a way, I guess he was where he really loved being — that’s for sure.”

Dodson was riding alone when he crashed, said Michelle Wheatley, chief of visitor services for the monument. She said it was unclear what caused Dodson to crash.

“All we know is that he lost control of his bike, and from what the two other cyclists said,  they heard a thud,” Wheatley said. “At this point it is under investigation.”

Hardin said Dodson was always concerned about his fellow man.

“He had a real deep concern for helping others,” Hardin said. “I think that is how Stanley viewed his whole career, he was trying to make a contribution.”

On Aug. 24, 2008, Neil Bradford, 56, of Fruita died during a long cycling ride that traversed the monument. He crashed while riding south of the monument between the Rim Rock Drive cutoff and Glade Park.


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