According to local police, five bicyclists lost their lives and four others were severely injured after a pickup truck plowed into them near the Markin Glen County Park north of Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Tuesday evening.
But before the accident local authorities had received three phone calls from concerned drivers who reported the erratic behavior of the pickup truck. Apparently, the man was inebriated when he hit the riders from behind.
The driver hasn’t attempted to hit and run. He was found quickly by law enforcement officers a few yards away from his vehicle and taken into custody. Cops were looking for him after they received the said phone calls, but unfortunately they arrived too late.
Other drivers reported him starting to drive recklessly about 30 minutes before the collision.
Kalamazoo Bicycle Club who keeps track of its members’ organized rides described the accident as “senseless.” The club said that they knew the nine riders had planned to organize a ride on North Westnedge Avenue at that time of the day.
The club added that the bicyclists had been previously trained on basic road safety rules so they were circulating on the ride side of the road in a single formation when the vehicle slammed them.
Paul Seldenof the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club believes that the whole community needs to be educated on how to ensure that bicyclists are safe on the road. Seldenof said that in such tragedies, “everybody losses.”
Social media sites were flooded with messages of sympathy and compassion for the affected families. While some users called for prayers, others urged drivers to be more attentive when they drive alongside bicyclists in the traffic.
The owners of a shop in Augusta expressed their sincere condolences and underscored that being drunk or distracted is no excuse for taking the life of another human being. The message also advises drivers to pay attention to the road not to their cell phones, not to drink and drive, and be extra careful when a bicyclist or motorcyclist is around.
“God please embrace those injured and open your arms to those taken tonight,”
the Facebook post also reads.
Pedal Bicycles, another shop in Kalamazoo county, praised the local cycling community for sticking up for one another in the face of such tragedies.
But the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club think that their efforts to make the county more bicycle-friendly need to be redoubled.
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