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Crash in Kalamazoo takes the lives of five bicyclists

We at the League of American Bicyclists are deeply saddened by yesterday’s crash in Kalamazoo, which took the lives of five bicyclists and seriously injured four others. It was one of the more horrific crashes ever seen for bicyclists. It appears that the driver was intoxicated — one of the leading causes of fatal motor vehicle crashes. It is an extreme example showing how we must take stronger steps to make our roads safer for everyone. But “average” crashes take a huge toll as well — over 600 people are killed by car crashes during an average week in the United States.

From a joint statement by the League of Michigan Bicyclists and the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club:

“Our hearts are broken that five cyclists lost their lives and four others were seriously injured due to this preventable tragedy,” said Renee Mitchell, President of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims during this difficult time. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those impacted by this senseless act. Our thoughts are also with the injured cyclists. We wish them a quick and full recovery. There is no way to measure the grief we feel at the loss to the Michigan bicycling community.”

“We are grateful that the driver was quickly apprehended after fleeing the scene,” said John Lindemayer, Executive Director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists. “The released details regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident suggest a willful and wanton disregard for human life. We urge local and state police to conduct a comprehensive investigation that will support swift prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”

Details are still emerging from both local and state law enforcement as well as the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s office. What we do know at this time, however, is that the bicyclists were riding northbound on N. Westnedge Avenue. The nine cyclists were struck from behind. All were adults despite early reports of children being involved. Five of the cyclists were killed and four have serious injuries. The truck was disabled due to the damage of the crash and the 50-year-old male driver was arrested a short distance away after fleeing the scene. The Michigan State Police performed a crash reconstruction and charges will likely be issued on Thursday.

The entire statement can be viewed here.


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