Investigation continues into bicyclist's death - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Investigation continues into bicyclist's death


The investigation into the bizarre death of a Savannah cyclist continues after the body of Phillip Vanderburgh, 53, was found on Thursday morning.

Vanderburgh was training for a memorial triathlon event being held this weekend when police said he somehow collided with the rotating arm of an excavator.

Police are still trying to wrap their heads around what happened to Vanderburgh. No one saw the accident and Vanderburgh was found in a ditch unconscious.

"Phil was a very experienced rider," said Leon Frana from the Bicycle Link. "He had been riding since he was probably 14 years old. It was a very big shock something like this could happen not involving a car or anything like that."

Frana was close friends with Vanderburgh and said he loves to cycle. In a sad twist, Vanderburgh was preparing for the bike leg of a memorial triathlon for another friend, Ryan Williams, at the Ride on Ryan triathlon this Sunday.

"There was probably no one else in the area more passionate about cycling, and he just loved to be on his bike," said Frana. "An inspiration for a lot of people."

As many more athletes hit the streets to take part in this weekend's events, or just for fun, the Savannah Bike Campaign is asking everyone to be a little more alert in light of Vanderburgh's tragic accident.

"It just underscores the need for all of us, whether we are riding a bike or operating heavy machinery or driving cars, to be aware of what is going on around us," said Savannah Bike Campaign's John Bennett.

Police said Vanderburgh was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Several tributes are planned in his honor, including at the Ride on Ryan event on Sunday.

Southside Fire and EMS are also planning a tribute on Sunday as they will be there to handle any emergency situations.

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