El Tour de Tucson Rider Killed When Struck in Bike Lane

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El Tour rider killed in bike lane by 78-year old driver

59-year-old bicyclist John S. Henderson of Tucson, was killed when a 78-year-old driver crashed into the El Tour de Tucson participant.

Department of Public Safety Officer Raul Molina said Henderson was riding properly in the designated El Tour bike lane, which was marked and enclosed by cones, when he was hit from behind.

Henderson was struck about 5:20 p.m. on the eastbound Interstate 10 frontage road near Sunset Road. At the time he was riding solo, Molina said.

Northwest Fire District Capt. Adam Goldberg reports that paramedics performed advanced life support on Henderson, but he was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Nissan Leaf was alone in the car and stayed at the scene. “Tucson Fire paramedics evaluated and transported the driver to a hospital for evaluation and treatment. The condition of the driver and the indications for the treatment and transport will be released by the Department of Public Safety when the investigation has been completed,” Goldberg said in a news release.

Molina said investigators do not suspect drugs or alcohol had anything to do with the crash and although skies were overcast, visibility was good, and it was not raining at the time.

Speed factor in El Tour bike rider’s death

Additionally, he reported the car’s speed was “probably within the speed limit on the frontage road,” although the car should not have been in the bike lane.

El Tour founder and president Richard DeBernardis said he was “completely devastated” by Henderson’s death.

“The cyclist did everything right,” he said.

The El Tour de Tucson has a 31-ride history.

Henderson’s death is the second associated with the tour. In 1996, bike rider David vonKersburg, 28, was killed by a passing car on his way to the start of the race.

In 2008, a 91-year-old driver struck a group of 10 El Tour bicyclists when he turned left in front of the race. The driver then left the scene. Five bicyclists were injured, including one cyclist who was left with a life-altering brain injury.

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