One man is dead after the bike he was riding was hit early Saturday morning. It happened in the westbound lanes of U.S. Highway 24 in eastern Jackson County and the death hit close to home for cyclists.
"You try to pick your roads, ones you know that lots of cyclists ride on," Matt Maher with The Freedom Ride said.
It's most likely that 48-year-old Michael Forbes was doing just that and choosing a road he knew many other cyclists would be on. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, Forbes was cycling westbound on Highway 24 when a driver struck the back of his bike.
The tragic incident happened just west of Levasy, MO, about 8:15 a.m.
Maher knew Forbes as an avid cyclist. In fact, Maher said Forbes' wife is also an avid cyclist and Saturday morning she was volunteering with The Freedom Ride, a bike ride taking cyclists through Independence, Sibley, Buckner, Wellington and Lexington, MO, and aimed at raising funds for cancer research and treatment. Maher said while Forbes was riding on a piece of road also being used in The Freedom Ride, he was not taking part in their event.
Maher said the risk that comes with riding is something many cyclists think about often.
"It's always in the back of your mind, especially when cars are buzzing by," he said. "It's like anything else, you just try and put it out of your mind and put your trust in everybody else that's on the road and hope that they'll take care of you."
As the Freedom Riders rode on into the horizon Saturday morning, their hearts were heavy. They said they realize another cyclist is gone and it very easily could have been any one of them.
"When an incident like today happens, you definitely realize it could've been any one of us at anytime. It kind of brings the risk to reality," Maher said.
Sgt. Bill Lowe with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the driver that hit Forbes told officers he looked down to check his air conditioning vents and, when he looked up, it was too late.
There is no word at this time on possible charges pending against the car's driver.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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