After a man was killed during the Tour De Palm Springs over the weekend, a cyclist who takes part in the event every year says the crash could have have been prevented.
The bed Alyson Akers and Mark Kristofferson shared the day of Saturday’s crash was still unmade Monday morning. Akers was seriously injured but survived. Her boyfriend, Kristofferson, did not. The pair rented a spare bedroom for the weekend in the home of Jim Hodgkins.
"When they arrived, they were so excited to be in Palm Springs, they immediately dropped off their things and wanted to get out an get downtown and go to the shops. I know they were in See’s Candy that night. There were See’s items in their room. They were just very excited to be here," Hodgkins said.
Akers even bought a new bike for the 100 mile ride. But on Saturday things went very wrong. Police say a 21-year-old man lost control of his truck when he reached speeds of between 80 and 100 miles per hour. He swerved and struck the couple.
"I was horrified. Just horrified that we had lost a life of a cyclist in the road again," said Tour De Palm Springs cyclist Vic Yepello.
Yepello is an avid cyclist and takes part in the event each year. In 2014 a woman died after she ran a stop sign and was hit by a car. Yepello says this year, the cyclist was not at fault.
"That road is posted at fifty miles per hour so had he not been speeding that much, the accident would not have happened," Yepello said.
Tour organizers did not return KMIR‘s request for comment. People like Yepello who participate in the tour every year say while in this case the blame lies squarely on the driver of the car, there is more that could be done to prepare cyclists during registration. Yepello suggests a quick safety rundown before the race starts and a bull horn to warn drivers of cyclist up ahead.