Car vs. bicycle fatal accident

A cyclist was hit by a 2009 GMC Sierra on Encanto Place near Murdoch’s Wednesday night. Shown is the general area where the accident occurred. 

A man on a bike died after colliding with a pickup at Encanto Place and the Murdoch’s parking lot entrance late Wednesday. 

The Montrose County Coroner's Office identified the man as Matthew Jordan Retherford, 32. Cause and manner of death are pending autopsy results.

“The Montrose Police Department’s sincere condolences go out to his family. It is tragic,” Chief Blaine Hall said Thursday morning.

According to the preliminary investigation, Retherford was on a BMX bicycle, traveling through the Murdoch’s lot toward Encanto Place. The initial investigation indicates he did not yield the right of way to traffic on Encanto Place; Hall said the stop sign controlling that location is badly faded.

A 39-year-old woman was driving down Encanto Place in a 2009 GMC Sierra, which struck the BMX.

The police, Montrose Fire Protection District, Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and later, the Colorado State Patrol, responded. Initial responders found Retherford still alive, but he died while still at the scene, Hall said.

The GMC’s driver was not arrested or cited and Hall said that for now, no citations are pending.

Police are still investigating the crash, with the “invaluable assistance” of the CSP, which has a crash-reconstruction investigator the MPD presently lacks.

Wednesday’s fatality was the second serious bicycle versus vehicle crash in less than a week, Hall said, calling on motorists, bicyclists and also pedestrians to exercise due caution and obey traffic laws.

On the evening of June 9, 64-year-old Tahnh Le was cycling down the sidewalk on Niagara Road, riding against traffic, Hall said. 

According to the preliminary investigation, Le went through the stop sign at Pavilion Drive without stopping and collided with a 2015 Ford F-150. He was thrown from his bike and severely injured.

Le was later flown to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where he remained as of Thursday, according to Hall.

Colorado bicyclists have the same duty to obey traffic laws as motorists, Hall said, and his officers will be patrolling for violations.

“Bicyclists need to obey the traffic laws, no different from a motor vehicle,” he said. That includes stopping completely at controlled intersections.

Hall does not want anyone else hurt or killed. He urged vigilance, especially as summer brings more people outdoors, including during evening hours when they might not be as visible to motorists.

“This is concerning. Everyone needs to be aware that bicycles and pedestrians, they’re harder to see, so pay extra attention,” Hall said.

Bicyclists and pedestrians should also take care to make themselves as visible as possible, such as by wearing reflective gear and at night, headlamps.

Regardless who may be at fault in any crash with a motor vehicle, the bicyclist or pedestrian is at most risk of injury or death, Hall also said.

“It’s terrible. These (crashes) are always tough. It’s concerning, because this is the second bicycle crash (this week),” Hall said.


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