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Triathlete champ Roy dies in Dubai accident

Moni Mathews / 7 September 2013

To his close ones and colleagues, triathlete Roy Nasr, run down by an alleged drunk driver while on a morning cycle, was a true and inspiring loyal leader, mentor and friend.

These were just some of the long list of tributes placed on social media on Friday after the former Arab triathlete champion and TriDubai co-founder died after being hit by a vehicle which knocked him down as it tried to overtake during a morning cycling routine near Safa Park in Dubai. Two of Nasr’s cycling friends were also taken to hospital for treatment.

The accident happened at 5.30 on Friday morning, when the 49-year-old Lebanese triathlete was cycling with his two companions on Safa bridge near the Bowling Centre, protected by another vehicle from behind, when the motorist rammed into them while overtaking recklessly. The accident killed Roy on the spot.

The head of Dubai Traffic Police, General Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, said in a statement the driver who caused the accident has been taken into custody for investigation, adding that public roads are absolutely unsafe for cycling and such accidents involving bicycles always lead to death or severe injuries.

Cyclists are often seen on Safa Bridge leading to Meydan Road, near Nad El Sheba Cycle Park.

Roy, who was an airline catering executive, is survived by his wife Tina and their two children Tala and Elie.

News of the tragedy broke on the Facebook page of a local cycling group.

“Our beloved Roy was killed this morning near Safa Park as he was doing his morning ride with Ali and Sarmad. He was hit from behind and died on impact,” a post read.

Close family friend Ian le Pelley said he was “deeply shocked”.

Le Pelley is another co-founder of TriDubai, which was launched last year. “Everyone agrees that he was genuinely one of the kindest people that we’d ever met and an inspiration to everyone. Not just as a triathlete, but as a human being.”

Le Pelley said such cycling accidents did not happen a lot, “but they certainly happen”.

“There are cycling paths put in but the lack of respect shown by drivers on the roads in Dubai can be terrifying and these accidents happen too regularly in Dubai.”

While people were aware of such dangers, that existed in every city in the world, people should be able to ride on the roads, he said. “It’s not a question of other road users being aware, it’s about having the courtesy to all road users.”

Hundreds of people paid tribute to Roy on the TriDubai Facebook page and Twitter.

“You have lost a true, inspiring, loyal leader, mentor and friend,” said David Labouchere.

“We are deeply saddened and thinking of you all — and, of course, Roy’s family. He was a wonderful ambassador for our sport in Dubai and more widely.”

“These awful accidents even happen to the best cyclists. Very sad UAE triathlete Roy Nasr killed as bike is hit by car,” Mel Firth tweeted.

“Roy was the kindest, most gentle and nicest person you could ever hope to meet. We are all devastated,” another social networker added.

“There is simply no excuse for hitting anything from behind especially a group of vulnerable cyclists. I hope the driver faces the full might of the law and spends years in jail. Condolences to the Nasr family and the other injured parties,” said Doug Fleming.

Other Twitter messages said:

@ Elizal: Horrid. Drivers of UAE wake up! @Teamdillon : RIP Roy Nasr you will be truly missed, you made such a difference to so many people’s lives. SO SAD!

@ Teamdillon: V sad news this morning, Good friend Roy Nasr killed by a car in Dubai while riding. So Sad, be careful on the roads!


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