The excitement of Tucson’s well-known bicycle race, El Tour de Tucson, was marred by a tragic bicycle accident when a participating cyclist was struck from behind by a 78-year-old motorist who was perhaps suffering from medical problems. The accident occurred just before 5:30 in the evening, when the cyclist was riding in the designated lane for El Tour, on the eastbound I-10 frontage road near Sunset Road. The bike rider was pronounced dead at the scene, and the elderly motorist was taken to a local hospital for treatment of an undisclosed medical problem.

As reported recently in the Arizona Daily Star, the 59-year-old rider was determined to finish the race in spite of being cold and wet. Midway through the race, he received coffee and words of encouragement from a friend, who counseled him that he was perhaps pushing himself too hard. Still, the rider’s competitive spirit drove him onward until he was rear-ended by the oldster’s Nissan Leaf.

How did it happen?

It’s easy to speculate that the elderly motorist may have suffered a stroke, heart attack, or other medical problem which distracted him at a critical moment. And, it seems logical that wet, rainy conditions, especially near sundown, contributed to this fatal bike collision. With regard to the driver who struck the cyclist, authorities did not comment publicly following the crash, except to acknowledge that he was suffering from a medical problem of some type. Assuming that the elderly driver’s licensing was up-to-date, it is possible that his medical issues were not serious enough to sideline him prior to this accident. Still, it’s important to assess whether the driver knew, or should have known, that his medical condition might lead to tragedy on the roadway.

Cyclists and race sponsors alike should certainly examine the circumstances of this cycling accident in order to reduce the risks for the next El Tour race. From a broader perspective, bicyclists know that Tucson bicycle accidents are increasingly common, and there are many possible factors for the rise in bike crashes: Each year, our crowded roads are being shared by even more bicycles and cars, and budgetary restraints have reduced roadway maintenance, which often forces riders to swerve to avoid potholes and other hazards for their two-wheeled vehicles, even while the drivers of much-larger motorized vehicles tend not to notice cyclists on busy roadways.

Bicycle crashes such as this serve as warnings to riders to be more careful, and motorists must also bear responsibility for ensuring that riders are accorded their rights to share the roadway with motor vehicles. And, when accidents happen, it’s important to seek the help of a seasoned bicycle accident attorney.

Here in Tucson, Bob Barber is the leading bicycle attorney. Since suffering a serious cycling accident himself several years ago, he has worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of riders. If you or a family member has been injured in a bicycle collision you should contact the Bob Barber Law firm for help, by calling 520-293-4440 today.