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Bereaved partner of rising cycling star killed in collision warns roads are "like a war zone" for cyclists

Seán Landers has spoken about the devastating impact of Gabriele Glodenyte's death, the 24-year-old hit by an oncoming driver while the pair were on a training ride in May...

The partner of a rising star of the Irish racing scene killed in a collision with an oncoming driver at the start of summer has spoken out about the "incredibly difficult" aftermath of her death, and said that even before the crash he saw the roads as "like a war zone" for cyclists.

Gabriele Glodenyte, winner of the 2022 Cycling Ireland National Road Series, was killed while training with her partner Seán Landers near Garristown, north Co Dublin, in May, the pair having stopped at the roadside away from each other, Landers arriving on the scene moments later to see a driver getting out of their car and Gabriele's bike "really messed up" and the cyclist nowhere to be seen.

> "A brilliant and talented cyclist taken away on the roads": Rising Irish cycling star killed in collision with oncoming driver

In a tragic and moving piece with The Irish Times this weekend, Landers recalled finding Gabriele in a ditch and doing CPR during the wait for an ambulance, his motivation for telling his story a desire to see the devastating impact of road collisions laid bare.

"I came across the scene, I didn't see it happen," he explained. "As I was getting there, the driver was getting out of his car. I saw her bike and it was really messed up, it was broken in a lot of places. But she was nowhere to be seen near the bike.

"There was a period of time when I was calling her name, searching for her, but she was nowhere to be seen. And then I saw her socks, upside down in the ditch. But I just didn't think it was going to be fatal. I thought okay, she might be unconscious here. So I just jumped into the ditch to hold her hand and tell her everything was going to be okay, that we'd get help, to reassure her, 'I'm with you'.

"But once I picked her hand up I could feel there was no life there. She had serious injuries... I kind of knew she was gone. But I started doing CPR on her. I didn't know what to do, I just didn't want to do nothing. And the ambulance people were on the phone and they were telling me to keep going. But when they arrived, they just basically took one look at her and... I don't think they even put a hand on her. They just said to me 'Look, that's it, unfortunately'."

An investigation into the death is ongoing, Landers confident that what happened will come to light, Gardaí speaking to the male motorist immediately after the crash and forensic collision investigators examining the scene and the car involved.

However, Landers also explained that while the past months have been "incredibly difficult" he felt that the roads were "like a war zone" even before the incident in May.

"I think that if I came across a random person in the ditch that day, I'd be messed up from that," he said. "And in the same way, if Gabriele died in her sleep, I'd also be messed up. When you combine the two of them together... there are strange things going on in your head. The person you were going to spend the rest of your life with, gone in a heartbeat. No goodbyes."

Following Gabriele's death there was an outpouring of tributes from cycling clubs in Ireland, the national governing body Cycling Ireland describing her as a "warm, friendly presence at the races" who was "a ray of sunshine at every event, always smiling, an honest and open person who loved her bike and her racing".

Newry Wheelers Cycling Club described her as a "talented and brilliant cyclist taken away on the roads", while former pro and journalist Paul Kimmage said her death was "absolutely sickening".

Also speaking to the Irish Times, Irish cycling safety campaigner Phil Skelton addressed the dangerous situation on the roads after a separate fatality last week took the number of deaths on Irish roads to 165 for 2023, already 10 more than in all of 2022.

With road deaths on track to be at their highest level since 2010, Skelton says he wants to see online reporting portals for dangerous driving introduced, like what are seen across England and Wales. 

"I see it every day on the bike. The amount of people distracted driving, usually with their nose stuck in the phone. Behaviours have gotten very bad and that's going unchecked," he said.

Skelton campaigned for the introduction of a 'dangerously overtaking a cyclist' offence and suggested the enforcement of road offences has become lax, increasing danger and deaths.

A business manager at Microsoft, Gabriele only began cycling in 2020 but quickly found success on the local and national road racing scene. Last July, racing for University College Dublin Cycling Club, she won the inaugural women's edition of the prestigious Newry Three Day stage race, taking two stage victories, as well as the Brian O'Loughlin Memorial race in Co Mayo.

That win in Mayo helped her on her way to being crowned the overall winner of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series for 2022, while she also travelled to Belgium for races last year. After winning the national road series, along with the Women's Intermediate League, Gabriele took part in a social media campaign promoting women's cycling and encouraging other women to take up racing.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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10 comments

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cmedred | 5 months ago
2 likes

Online reporting without enforcement of penalties for murderous driving is meaningless. And sadly, around the world, there seems little interest in prosecuting murderous driving by anyone driver free of drugs or alcohol. An American public radio station in South Dakota did a story about this after the state's attorney general ran down a walker along a roadway and didn't even stop to see if the man had been injured. The fellow died. The AG got a slap on the wrist. There was an outcry. It turned out that a slap on the wrist was more than the penalty imposed on most of the others who ran down walkers or cyclists in that state. https://listen.sdpb.org/crime-courts/2022-04-19/ravnsborgs-punishment-ch...  As the AG's attorney summarized: “That somebody's not intoxicated, and those accidents happen, then there are those low misdemeanors to take care of it.” It's about the best definition of motornormativity you will ever see. One can only hope Landers is preparing himself for the Garda's eventual decision that this was not the motorist's fault because the odds weigh heavily toward that outcome. 

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mattw replied to cmedred | 5 months ago
5 likes

Having taken an interest in US reporting and collisions for some time. the conclusion I have come to is that in general many aspects of the USA can be characterised as "A Thrid World Country with more money" - unfortunately.

Avatar
Jimmy Ray Will | 5 months ago
10 likes

If its a war zone, then cyclists are palestinian civilians, and motorists the Israeli armed forces. The problem being that motorists see all cyclists as Hamas terrorists, so either fair game or collateral damage at worst. 

 

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bigwheeler88 replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 5 months ago
1 like

Couldn't have said it better myself

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essexian replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 5 months ago
2 likes

And of course, both our deranged Prime Minister and the joke which leads what remains of the "Labour" party, feel that the motorists have the right to defend themselves.

 

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bigwheeler88 | 5 months ago
11 likes

People say the roads are like a war zone, but that's making it sound like it's a fair fight between us cyclists and the frankly murderous drivers out there. A bit like a few other wars going on in the world right now...

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wtjs | 5 months ago
16 likes

Skelton says he wants to see online reporting portals for dangerous driving introduced, as are seen across England and Wales

Unfortunately, many of these 'portals' are just another name for 'automatic bin'

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eburtthebike | 5 months ago
12 likes

All road deaths are sad and avoidable, but this one especially so.  Best wishes to Seán Landers and her family and friends.

Sean's words should be compulsory reading for every driver.

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marmotte27 replied to eburtthebike | 5 months ago
0 likes

Paywall unfortunately...  2

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mattw replied to marmotte27 | 5 months ago
0 likes

The Bypass Paywalls plugin seems to fix it.

As does archive.ph .

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