Driver hits cyclist, knocks three more down

Emergency medical responders from the Vernon and Concho fire departments tend to four injured bicyclists who were hit by an eastbound motorist driving a pickup pulling a trailer on U.S. 61 at Apache County Road 3148 (the "crossroads") around 8 a.m. June 26. All four were transported to Summit Healthcare with unknown minor to serious injuries.

APACHE COUNTY — Four bicyclists with The Ability Experience were transported to Summit Healthcare around 9 a.m. June 25 with unknown minor to serious injuries.

A witness who asked not to be named said she was heading westbound into Show Low on U.S. 61 at Apache County Road 3148 when she saw an eastbound matte black pickup truck pulling a trailer heading in the opposite direction. She said the group of cyclists was heading eastbound in the same direction as the pickup and trailer.

The witness said that it appeared to her as though the driver of the pickup truck possibly failed to see them and in her words, "plowed right into them" at the intersection of County Road 3148 and U.S. 61.

When the driver of the truck hit the cyclists, the witness said they flew into the air "like popcorn," hitting the ground hard.

When The Independent arrived on scene, other cyclists with the group were holding up a blanket to shelter one injured cyclist.

Two others were nearby and another sitting at the stop sign at the intersection of 3148 and U.S. 61, all being comforted and attended to by fellow cyclists.

Within minutes emergency medical help via the Vernon Fire Department, Concho Fire Department and St. Johns Emergency Services ambulance arrived.

A Native Air helicopter from Summit Healthcare was there if needed, but all four injured cyclists were taken by ground ambulance to the hospital.

Officers with the Apache County Sheriff's Office as well as the Arizona Department of Public Safety arrived to handle traffic and begin an investigation into the accident.

The U.S. Forest Service provided traffic control in conjunction with the other responding agencies.

Police at the scene did not say if anyone was cited.

More details coming as available.

(19) comments


The driver needs to be charged. It is legal to ride your bike on Arizona rides, despite the police's usual disregard for that. My husband has been hit twice, the drivers were clearly at fault and the police just ignored it.


Really? Convict without knowing anything? First off, the driver of the truck had a blow out, check the skid marks, second, the driver was over the CENTER line trying to avoid the bike riders, Who were not on the shoulder of the road. Hummmm? I thought this was America, Innocent until proven guilty! So reader53 do the bike rider have the right to ride where ever they want on the road, or does it state as far to the right as possible when there is not a warning vehicle behind them? sorry for the rant, but this is America.


As far to the right as long as your on the pavement. The law does not say the bicyclist has to ride in the dirt when a vehicle is coming the same direction. The law does say the vehicle must give the bicyclist at least 3 feet of room when passing. Sorry but this is America.


I am just sorry this happened. I will say that I passed at least 12 of these cyclists on my way to Concho, they in no way attempted to stay to the right, they were riding 2 or 3 wide and taking up the lane. Had NO regard for vehicles at all. Of course I moved over when safe to do so but bicyclists also should need to follow the law, it is my understanding that they should be riding in single file, NOT 2 or 3 wide !
Thank you for hearing my rant !


kenkshowlow, It was the driver who failed in their duty to pass safely if the eyewitness account is remotely accurate. See ARS 28-735.

mtnwmn, AZ law allows cyclists to ride two-abreast per ARS 28-815 section B.

The law does not guarantee unimpeded travel as is so frequently assumed. If a driver chooses to pass a slower vehicle it is the passing driver's responsibility to do so safely. That is clearly not what happened in this case.



A dog that chases cars is not long for this world.

A cyclist that rides the highways of AZ is not long for this world.

A 4,000 lb. vehicle trumps a 150 lb. cyclist 100 percent of the time.


I8, Per the drivers report, He was way over the center line, the bike rider swerved out to the center of the lane for reasons unknown, the bike rider was side swiped and thrown into the other 3 riders, How much room does a bike rider need? the whole lane? Eye wittiness? there was none, the first person on scene was there 10 minutes after the accident, even the bike riders were un sure of what happened, they were thinking someone ran a stop sign. Humm seems people want to convict someone based on someone guessing as to what happened, Oh well, this is the United States, and we are still a free country, and the law will decide according to the physical evidence, like skid marks and damage to the truck, not some johnny come lately and assuming how things went down.


and on a side note, does the law state ride into traffic? or with traffic when on a highway without shoulders?



The article clearly states that there was an eyewitness; the "popcorn" lady. My assessment is based on her account of the accident.

Yes, a cyclist has the right to the whole lane per ARS 28-815 section A.

Again, there is no right to pass. in the case where a pass is allowed, the duty to pass safely rests with the passing driver.


28-815 also says the bike must right as far to the right curb as possible and that they must be single file unless in a lane designated for bikes only. I8 you need to read it again. You are simply wrong in this case.


What does this have to do with this being America?? You need to go back and look at the laws about bike riding. You have to give them 4 feet and if you can't go around them safely, you can't. There was a witness that said he just plowed into them and it was the trailer that hit the cyclists. Being charged isn't the same thing as being convicted. Up here, it is open season on cyclists.


reader 53 FREEDOM OF SPEECH., and ya cant convict without evidence, and from what I have seen of the PHYSICAL evidence, the truck involved was way over the center line, Trying to avoid the cycle rider who swerved into the traffic lane, who by the way hit the passenger door of the truck, that tells me the truck was sideways to the rider at impact..



Thanks for taking the time to look up the law. You are right about the duty to ride as far right as practicable subject to certain exemptions. The ARS 28-815 Section A does allow a cyclist to vary from that position as needed to avoid obstacles or in the case the lane is too narrow to be safely occupied by both a cyclist and a passing vehicle. I venture to say that highway 61 neatly fits that description for nearly the entire stretch.

This has no bearing on the passing driver's responsibility to pass safely.

Also, ARS 28-815 section B is due a closer inspection: "Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadway set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles."


I'm curious. If you're foolhardy enough to ride a bike on the highways up here and you get killed, can you show St. Peter a copy of ARS 28-815 so that he can return you back to earth.


That day I drove to Taylor, through Show Low and back home to Vernon. I did not go home from the Y by way of the 61 but on the 60. At many times during the day I saw lots of Bicycles riding the whole right lane of the highway. Not staying to the right of the right lane and not riding single file or two abreast. On these mountain road there are not bike lanes like in the city and I only saw on the 77 a few flash cars in front or behind the bicycles. If they want to ride on these roads they need flash cars or ride in a single file or ride against traffic still in a single file. There are two many trucks with trailers and large vehicles and plain vehicle traffic for someone on a bicycle to feel safe enough riding on these mountain roads.

The Bicycle riders also need to take precaution, they don't own the road but ride like they do. Whoever was in charge of this event did not plan it well. They should have flash cars telling vehicles there are bicycles ahead and they should have had the far right lane marked with cones or something since there are not bicycle lanes.

If this truck and trailer blew a tire and he was already far over to the left across the center line it is not his fault. Remember that part of hwy 61 and 3148 is a very narrow part of the 61 and a Motorcyclist was killed there a few weeks ago. That part of the hwy is very hard to turn left on to 3148 if your going west on the 61. No turn lane and vehicles coming up the hill behind you and up the hill in front of you coming east on the 61 are going 65 miles an hr.

I ride on a Motorcycle and know how dangerous it is on the highways and cars don't car if they cut you off, turn left in front of you or tailgate you. Motorcycles have as much right to our roads as vehicles do, have lost too many friends to drivers who could care less if they kill a motorcycle rider. Just lost a good friend in Buckeye who had the right of way and a 16 yr old driver did a California stop at a stop sign and pulled out in front on the Biker causing the biker to tee bone the car and it killed my friend on the Motorcycle. The 16 yr old got his license taken away until he is 21, got a ticket for failure to stop and a ticket for manslaughter(ticket for killing someone) is that what this world is coming to? I could go on about cars killing people on Motorcycles since I have lost many but this country does not punish the cagers (vehicle drivers) but if you killed someone with your car you would be in jail for murder. Yes this is our great world we live in.


VERNON — A Show Low resident has been arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license after striking a cyclist, which then sent him into three others, causing four to go down, on Highway 61 on Friday, June 26.

No doubt the local was practicing his Fredumbs of driving without a valid license, texting and sloppin down beers.


Yep if that was the case I agree Kahuna that this dum---- was drinking, texting and also driving without a valid license. How do people get away with this cr--. We need more cops out on 61 and 60 by the Y because I drive through there everyday and 55 is the speed limit at the Y but there are cars flying by at 70-85. No regard for the speed limit or hurting someone else in a vehicle. In fact if you go the speed limit they are tailgating you and trying to push you out of their way. Where are the cops when this cr-- is going on. I know they can't be everywhere but get some of them out at the Y and stop these idiot drivers.


The news story above really doesn't have much in the way of details, and i trust the authorities to conduct a full investigation.
In terms of the rules of the road, there is a lot of picking-and-choosing amonst the laws quoted in the comments above -- you can go read the full text of the relevant title 28 statutes here
Bicyclists, like all drivers of vehicles, must use the right half of the roadway; but are not otherwise required to ride to the far right unless the lane is wide enough to share; it appears this lane in this area is clearly not wide enough to share (generally > 14 feet).
There is no requirement for bicyclists to ride on shoulders; although bicyclists may choose to use a shoulder in some places, there are many safety reasons not to.
There is no requirement to ride single-file.
Drivers wishing to go faster than any other vehicle (including bicycilsts) must follow the usual safety rules, and additionally must pass with a minimum of 3 feet of clearance if overtaking a bicyclist.
These aren't just legal rules, they support best practices for traffic safety.

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