DAVIE, Fla. (AP/WSVN) – A driver who was reportedly distracted struck a group of cyclists during a morning bike ride in Davie, killing a woman and sending at least six people to the hospital, including a victim with a critical injury.
One man who works on bikes, Eric DiMarco, said he knew the deceased rider identified as 53-year-old Denise Marsh. He said this is one of the safest groups of riders that he knows.
Marsh organized what would later become a tragic bike ride after a black Honda Fit plowed into a group of at least 15 bicyclists along State Road 84, east of Southwest 148th Avenue, at around 8:30 a.m., Sunday.
Paramedics transported six victims to Broward Health Medical Center. The youngest victim, who is 14 years old, suffered a scraped knee.
Safety was a key element for Marsh when it came to bike rides. She organized several rides and made sure riders wore helmets and didn’t allow them to wear ear buds so they could remain alert.
“One of the most polite people that you could ever meet. They were very safety conscious. They rode in numbers for safety, and this still happened to them,” DiMarco said.
In this case, this was all for naught. Marsh left behind a husband and two children.
DiMarco worked on Marsh’s bike for years and said he thinks there needs to be laws changed to protect riders.
“I really think the Florida Driver’s Test [should have] questions about cyclists,” he said. “They need to be informed that bikes are vehicles too, about sharing the roadway and when cyclists choose to ride on the sidewalk rather than the street, they’re actually more invisible to cars and just as in harm’s way.”
Davie Police believe the driver who hit the group was distracted. She stayed at the scene and was cooperative.
Davie Police Sgt. Mark Leone said speed, alcohol or drugs are not believed to be a factor.
“She did say that she was distracted,” said Leone. “She doesn’t know or remember exactly what distracted her, but we are investigating it as some type of distraction.”
The cyclist’s family issued a statement that reads, “Denise was a loving wife and mother. She is survived by her family and cycling troupe. She was a hard worker and recently graduated from Broward Community College. Marsh was passionate about her community, and her memory will continue with those she knew and loved.”
The crash is still under investigation.
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