Jan 3, 2023
The 13th Annual Bike the Bluff road race took place Saturday morning in the Navajo County city of Show Low, Arizona. Nearly 300 bicyclists were registered for the 58-mile event that benefits Mountain Christian School, a kindergarten through eighth grade institution located about 180 miles northeast of Phoenix. But the usual festive community attraction turned horrific at about 7:25 a.m. when a truck plowed into a group of cyclists participating in the race.
A 35-year-old male suspect in a Ford F-150 slammed into multiple bicyclists, causing extensive injuries to several riders. The crash occurred near the Horne Auto Collision Center in Show Low. The driver fled the scene of the crash before eventually being tracked down by police.
Officers pursued the suspect in a high-speed chase that ended behind a local ACE Hardware store. The suspect was shot at the scene and is reportedly in critical but stable condition.
Paramedics transported seven bicycle riders to local hospitals. On Sunday, a statement released by police confirmed three cyclists are in critical condition at Flagstaff Medical Center, one is critical at University Medical Center of New Mexico, two others are in critical condition at Banner Medical Center in Phoenix, and the seventh bicyclist is in stable condition at Summit Healthcare.
Police said all the injured cyclists were participating in the Master Men 55, 60, 65, and 70+ age categories for the Bike the Bluff Arizona State Championship Road Race.
“Our community is shocked at this incident and our hearts and prayers are with the injured and their families at this time,” Kristine M. Sleighter, a spokesperson for the Show Low Police Department, said in a news release.
Multiple agencies are reportedly investigating the truck-bicycle crash, including the Show Low Police Department, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (ADPS). The ADPS will be responsible for conducting an investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
The Associated Press interviewed a Bike the Bluff participant, bicyclist Tony Quinones, 55, of New Mexico. Quinones graphically described “watching bodies going on top of the hood, bodies going to the left, bodies going to the right.”
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Quinones had met another New Mexico bicyclist just before the race began. That same man ended up being one of the victims injured in the crash. Quinones told the Associated Press he saw blood flowing from the man’s head and nose.
“He’s got a compound fracture, and I’m just saying, ‘Hey man keep breathing, keep breathing. Help’s on its way. Hey man, you’re going to be OK.'” Quinones said. “I mean, that’s just insane. It’s not just one. There’s like six, seven, eight other guys like who are all around doing the same thing.”
Authorities have stated that they still do not know the truck driver’s motivation for the crash. Initially, some suspected that the driver may have fallen asleep behind the wheel. But Quinones told the Associated Press that he saw the man accelerate towards the group of bicyclists.
“He went right at us,” Quinones told the AP.
After hitting a telephone pole, many of cyclists who had not been injured ran up to the truck and began pounding on the windows, screaming for the driver to get out, according to the AP report. But the driver backed out by hitting the accelerator, then drove down the road, made a U-turn, and headed back in the direction of the cyclists (although this time without striking anyone).
A Show Low city spokeswoman, Grace Payne, said the suspect did not comply when offers attempted to arrest him, but the circumstances pertaining to the shooting were not immediately made public.
Whether it’s a pickup truck or a big-rig tractor-trailer, bicyclists are in danger of being severely injured or killed when collisions occur. Unfortunately, truck accidents involving bicycles are a common occurrence, particularly in the Southwest where the climate favors bike riding throughout much of the year.
In 2020, statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that bicycle fatalities in the Golden State hit a 25-year high. Between 2016 and 2018, the rate of fatal bicycle accidents was the highest of any three-year period since the mid-1990s. Nationally, the three-year bicyclist fatality rate was at its highest since the mid-2000s.
From 2016 to 2018, motor vehicle accidents killed 455 cyclists in California. That equates to approximately 3.9 bike accident fatalities per million people. The last time the fatality rate was so high in the mid-1990s, many major cities hadn’t yet built the extensive bicycle networks that exist today.
According to a report from California Healthline which examined the NHTSA’s statistics, the upsurge in bicycle fatalities is likely the result of three converging factors:
“There’s definitely been an increase in popularity of cycling,” Julia Griswold, a researcher at the University of California-Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, told California Healthline. “And then also since the economy has recovered from the 2008 crash, there’s been an increase in driving.”
Not surprisingly, Los Angeles County is by far the deadliest county in California when it comes to bicycle accidents. The following graph provided by California Healthline is based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
California Healthline also points to ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, as a factor in increased bicycle fatalities. With more people choosing to bike to work, and more Uber and Lyft drivers cruising the roads and highways looking for their next fare, the congestion is a recipe for more and more bicycle accidents, many of which end in fatalities.
“The more people are driving, the higher the probability of an incident,” Jennifer Boldry, director of research at PeopleForBikes, a national nonprofit that advocates for greater bike access and safety, told California Healthline.
Additionally, California Healthline’s report identifies smartphone usage and the corollary with distracted driving as a major factor in bicycle fatalities. 3,142 fatalities in 2019 were the result of distracted driving, according to the NHTSA. The number of distracted driving accidents has led many states, including California, to pass legislation specifically outlawing the use of smartphones while operating a motor vehicle.
California’s AB 47, which takes effect on July 1, gives law enforcement the power to crack down on repeat distracted driving offenders by issuing citations that result in points against a driver’s record.
When a cyclist is injured by another motor vehicle driver’s negligence or error, the resulting injuries can lead to substantial losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. As the injured victim, you should not be responsible for covering such losses caused by the at-fault party. Filing a personal injury bicycle accident lawsuit is an excellent means for recovering losses that are both economic and non-economic.
Examples of some economic losses that may be recoverable after a bicycle accident include:
Examples of some non-economic losses that may be recoverable after a bicycle accident include:
The experienced and dedicated bicycle accident attorneys at Dordulian Law Group (DLG) will fight to help you recover all applicable damages after an untimely accident. We’ll serve as your dedicated legal advocate and work tirelessly so you recover the maximum financial damages award available.
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
Proving a bicycle accident case can be a complex process, and successfully recovering intangible (and more difficult to prove) damages such as pain and suffering or emotional trauma requires specific skills and experience. DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, previously served as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, and has accumulated over 100 jury trial victories throughout his decorated career. That’s a level of experience bicycle accident victims can’t find at most law firms, and it can be the difference between a $1,000 settlement and a multi-million dollar settlement.
When you’re injured in a bicycle accident, the resulting medical bills and pain and suffering can be overwhelming. As the victim, you should focus on what’s most important – your physical recovery and overall well-being. Let the bicycle accident experts at DLG handle the stress and haggling involved in recovering a maximum financial damages award that will allow you to make a complete recovery – physically, emotionally, and financially.
In the tragic event of a bicycle accident fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by the decedent’s surviving family members to ensure justice is obtained against the at-fault party. A wrongful death lawsuit can help recover various losses, such as funeral and burial expenses, loss of insurance or pension, loss of companionship, and more.
The wrongful death attorneys at DLG are ready to fight for you and your family after a bicycle accident fatality. We’ll hold the at-fault party accountable and fight to recover all applicable damages to ensure you obtain the maximum allowable financial compensation.
With a 98% success record and history of recovering over $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for our clients, DLG is the absolute best choice available when searching for a bicycle accident lawyer in California. We’ll treat your claim with the personalized care, attention, and professionalism it deserves, providing you with expert representation and all-encompassing support throughout the entire legal process.
Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you never pay a penny until we recover maximum financial compensation for your bicycle accident injury. Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 to learn more about how we can help you win you bicycle accident claim and recover the maximum financial damages award you deserve.
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