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Cycling community reacts to NTSB report on biking tragedy

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A newly released report from the National Transportation Safety Board highlights what could be learned from Kalamazoo’s biking tragedy.

The federal report suggests better communication may have prevented the deadly crash. Founder of Bike Friendly Kalamazoo, Paul Selden says the deadly crash is a reminder of how awful the incident was.

“This incident has received national attention and that we continue to be in the spotlight by an agency that by in large only investigates things like plane crashes and train crashes,” said Selden.

The report says dispatchers had “limited communication” within the 22 minute span of the first 911 call and the crash, a suggestion Selden says can be disputed.

“The reality is none of us know for sure what one thing that any of us can do within our power that may help prevent the chance of such a tragedy in the future.”

The agency arrived in Kalamazoo after a pick-up truck struck a group of bicyclists June 7th killing 5 and injuring 4. Paul Gobble was one of the riders who survived the crash and reacted to the report releasing the following statement:

"I could not be more impressed or comforted by the performance and commitment from all of the first responders who responded to the crisis on June 7th.The police, the firefighters, the EMTs, all of them were amazing. Could things have gone better? Theoretically, that's always possible."

Do I think there should be a change to our 911 system? I think the best people to answer that question are our first responders. They would know best what tools they need to do their job.

One NTSB member wrote a dissenting opinion and said he didn’t believe better communication would have changed the outcome of the tragedy. Selden who read the report says many factors went into the report.

“I’ve read the report and I’ve talked to the chief investigator but we have to remember this was formulated by a board as a whole and it is not the opinion of any one person,” said Selden.

This is not the NTSB’s final report a more comprehensive report will also be released. Charles Pickett’s trial has been moved to September.

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