Cyclists concerned after Tour de Palm Springs collision

Rider killed by high-speed motorist

Cyclists concerned after deadly accident during Tour de Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Cyclists are expressing concerns after one cyclist was killed and another seriously injured following a collision with a truck this past Saturday.

Desert Hot Springs resident Ronnie R. Huerta Jr., 21, was arrested for vehicular manslaughter. According to the California Highway Patrol, Huerta allegedly lost control after driving at a high-rate of speed and over-corrected and crossed the roadway again and struck the two cyclists.

Read: Desert Hot Springs man posts bail after deadly Tour de Palm Springs crash

This isn't the first deadly accident to happen while on the course. In 2014, a 55-year-old woman was struck and killed by a truck hauling a trailer in Thermal while she was riding the 100-mile course.

"A dear friend of mine was waiting and she was really nervous and wondering where myself and a few of our other friends were," said Danny Fierro, a Palm Springs resident.

Fierro rode the course this past weekend and says that he sees room for better safety measures.

"I think in stretches of road like Dillon and areas of Coachella, they could have taken more precautions to slow down traffic to ensure that they are not able to pick up enough speed since there aren't any stop signs," Fierro said. 

Fierro did compliment some of the safety improvements made over the years.

"I felt like at major intersection there was police presence and they were directing traffic, which was refreshing because there were other years I didn't feel as safe," Fierro said.

Kathleen Donatello, a former race director with ten years of experience in planning bike tours, says community involvement is important in preventing tragedies. 

"It's about education and making sure the cyclists know what can happen, educating the volunteers, and making sure the community is on board and if you don't have 100 percent community involvement and buy in, then we're going to keep seeing this happen,"

"You want people to want to do this ride and you want to bring people to the valley and they're not going to come if they don't feel safe," said Danny Fierro, a Palm Springs resident.

We visited the local office, no one was available to speak with us about the incident or potential adjustments to the course. We also reached out to the founder of the Tour de Palm Springs for comment and haven't heard back.

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