A 48-year-old bicyclist from Independence died Saturday after he was struck by a vehicle while riding along a rural route of a charity ride east of Buckner.
Michael D. Forbes was riding west shortly after 8 a.m. on U.S. 24 near County Road H when a westbound car struck his rear wheel, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Forbes was riding the route of the Freedom From Cancer Ride, a charity event that started at 7 a.m. in Independence and extended to Lexington and back. Forbes wanted to start earlier than the official race time, so he was actually headed back to Independence as hundreds of other riders were still riding east, said Chris Pace, the event’s coordinator.
Forbes was alone, so other riders didn’t see the accident, Pace said.
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Troopers still investigating the accident cited inattention by the 32-year-old driver as a cause. The driver told troopers he had glanced down at his dashboard. When he looked back up, it was too late to avoid hitting the cyclist, said Sgt. Collin Stosberg.
Troopers are going to subpoena cellphone records from the driver as a routine part of the investigation, Stosberg said.
Evidence showed Forbes was on the roadway, according to the Highway Patrol.
The victim and his wife, who was volunteering at the event, are well known and liked in the cycling community, Pace said.
“It’s tragic all the way around,” Pace said. “He was a good guy. He’d do anything for anybody.”
Cyclists know their hobby can be dangerous, Pace said, especially with multiplying distractions inside vehicles.
“All I can say is try to ride in a group,” Pace said. “Try to make yourself a bigger target.”