Crit Faced is a local event set for Saturday to raise funds for Scott Porbansky, a cyclist who suffered sever injuries through a hit-and-run accident. The event will feature a 30-minute criterium race, held on city center streets, a flag football like derby conducted on bikes, a raffle featuring prizes from local merchants and sponsors, local DJ’s, food trucks and libations.
The raffle prizes will showcase a variety of artisans including Anderson Bailey, Jessie Bean, Merlyn Townley, Andrew Gage, Shane Darwent, Eric Smith, Heather Huston and more.
Road deaths and injuries sustained by our nations cyclists and pedestrians are on the rise. Every year, more than 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured nationally in reported road accidents. In recent months, local cyclist Mr. Porbansky suffered severe injuries through a hit-and-run accident which resulted in a head injury that included more than 40 staples decorating his scalp, a full body road rash, severe bruising, leg, arm, torso and neck injuries and almost $50,000 in medical expenses.
While he survived the crash, Mr. Porbansky says “Many road accidents are not reported to the local police and most often occur in urban areas, where motorists and bikes interact daily. My story, while dramatic, is not really that uncommon in the U.S.”
Fellow cycling friends and bike advocates decided that Mr. Porbansky’s story was an important one to tell. To help with the needed medical bills and to raise awareness about the dangers of cycling, local artists, riders and bike mechanics decided to take a stand. Hosted by Andrew Gage of Velo Coffee, Merlyn Townley of Merlyn Mechanics, and artists/cycling advocates, Jessie Bean and Anderson Bailey, Crit Faced was an event founded by like-minded individuals with a heart for fighting the dangers of riding in our scenic city where the car is often king.
To help spur local cycling awareness the group launched Crit Faced as a way to help raise funds for Porbansky’s medical bills as well as help advocate stronger bicycle safety in Chattanooga.
"As a local business that delivers all of my goods via bike, I felt this was important story to tell," said Mr. Gage. "Motorists don’t always know how to pass a cyclist or how to respond. But this is unprecedented. Government mandates that cars have to be three feet from any cyclist. I find it shocking that someone has to suffer such severe injuries because they choose a two-wheeled vehicle over a four-wheeled vehicle.”
“Around 80 percent of cycling accidents occur in daylight, which is when most bike people are on the road,” said Merlyn Townley. "That is huge. With the upcoming USA Pro Championships headed our way in 2013 and the advent of Bike Chattanooga’s new bike share program, this is something that will become more and more important for the scenic city. A road shared means both motorists and bikes, period.”
“Anyone who rides regularly has close calls, but this accident reminds us how safe and defensive we must be when riding on the road” said Jessie Bean and Anderson Bailey.
The event will be held on Saturday, at Velo Coffee at 509 East Main St. Local music and performances will be provided by DJ John Hall and Oates, DJ Nasty MAX and Big Kitty. The Crit Faced event starts with a race starting promptly at 5 p.m., after the main event and music at 9:30 p.m. The event is free and to the public, but looks to raise funding for Mr. Porbansky’s medical expenses.
For more information about Crit Faced, R.S.V.P. on Facebook or visit critfaced.blogspot.com. To get more information about the event hosts, visit Velo Coffee at velocoffee.com, Anderson Bailey at theandersonbailey.com and Merlyn Mechanics at merlynmechanics.com.