Cars striking and killing cyclists is tragically common, but this death is hitting the cycling community particularly hard. Gwen Inglis, the national road racing champion in her age group and “one of the best cyclists in Colorado” per the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado, died after being hit by a car Sunday on the roads near her home in Lakewood, Colorado.
The driver, Ryan Scott Montoya, reportedly drifted into the bike lane at 10 a.m. on Sunday and struck Inglis. Montoya stayed at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide involving DUI or DUID, according to the Denver Post. Inglis was transported to an area hospital where she later died. The Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado released a statement:
“Colorado cycling lost one of their best yesterday,” the organization said. “There are few words that can express the feeling of loss for any of our cycling community, and Gwen was a particularly special person. She was a multiple National and State Champion on the bike and very well known across the cycling community in Colorado. Even more impressive was her character off the bike. Knowing Gwen, you would immediately be aware of her strongest qualities. She consistently brought joy into all her relationships, and she openly accepted everyone.”
“She was a wonderful human being who epitomized everything that is good in sports and humanity, a true advocate of inclusion and the type of person any parent would want their young athlete to look up to,” said Shawn Farrell, executive director of Colorado Cycling.
Cyclists deaths are all too common. Outside magazine tracked every cyclists death in 2020, a depressing, but important task . Here’s what they found:
In 2018, 857 cyclists died in crashes with drivers, the deadliest year for people on bikes since 1990. In 2019, while the total number of deaths dipped slightly, to 846, cities like New York recorded their highest number of cyclist fatalities ever.
Last January, in response to those disturbing numbers, we launched the #2020CyclingDeaths project, which aimed to track every person on a bike killed by a driver in the U.S. over the course of the year. In the end, we recorded 697 cyclist deaths. Since we were only able to count deaths reported by local media, the actual total is likely significantly higher. The five victims of the Nevada crash were numbers 662 through 666 in our database.
That’s obviously an unacceptable amount of death. While some local governments have taken steps to protect cyclists from cars, improvements are needed everywhere from designing and testing cars that are pedestrian-safe, to preventing distracted driving and to our infrastructure.