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Cyclist killed during fundraiser
ARLINGTON — A 16-year-old Canadian male from Victoria, B.C., was killed after falling into oncoming traffic at Smokey Point Boulevard and 204th Street at 9:20 a.m. during the Ride to Conquer Cancer on Sunday, June 16.
"It's just an all-out tragedy, it really is," said Kristin Banfield, Arlington spokesperson.
The boy was riding as part of the fifth annual Ride to Conquer Cancer, a fundraiser in which 2,642 riders helped raise $10.4 million for the BC Cancer Foundation this year alone. The ride took participants from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle in the two-day event. Riders spent the night in Mount Vernon, before starting again on Sunday morning.
A pack of between 400 and 500 riders were continuing south on Smokey Point Boulevard preparing to turn east onto 204th Street, when the boy decided to pass to the front of the pack. According to witnesses, he was not cycling erratically, simply speeding up to the front. It was then that his tire clipped a curb and he fell into oncoming traffic.
A 50-year-old Arlington woman was driving "well under" the speed limit, said Banfield, and simply could not stop before striking the boy with her car.
The boy was participating in the race with his mother and uncle, who were on scene.
"We know there were other folks in the pack who immediately began resuscitation and aid efforts before the medics arrived and took over," said Banfield. Arlington Fire and Police Department personnel worked to resuscitate the boy for 40 minutes, and an airlift was ordered. That helicopter was later cancelled when the boy was pronounced dead.
"The woman was doing exactly what she was supposed to do. She recognized that there was a large number of cyclists and she slowed down immediately," said Banfield. "The boy was just riding along and fell right in front of her car. She was doing exactly what she was supposed to do and he was enjoying his ride, with his family. It's just a terrible accident."
This is the fifth year that the the Ride to Conquer Cancer has traveled through Arlington and Banfield noted that they have never had any issues other than mild injuries such as a scraped knee.
"We have never had an accident like this in Arlington," she said. "As the sun comes out and the weather warms up, we want drivers to be paying attention and looking out for each other. I want to stress that the driver of the vehicle in this incident was doing exactly that. She was slowing down and staying alert, but there was just not enough time to stop the car."
"We are so appreciative that his family was there with him and he wasn't alone," said Banfield, who expressed her condolences to the family of the deceased. "It's horrible. It's just awful. We are devastated. Everyone is hit hard by this."