Motor vehicles aren’t always the biggest threat cyclists face.
According to the Palm Springs Desert Sun, a pair of cyclists were riding on a mountain trail above Araby Cove south of the city around 1:45 Saturday afternoon when one rider collapsed in the near-record 105 degree temperature.
A CHP helicopter that was already in the area responding to another call dropped off a Palms Springs Fire Department paramedic before going on to rescue an injure hiker. The victim was declared dead at the scene, apparently as a result of dehydration, though the official cause of death is still under investigation.
The helicopter later returned to pick up the body of the victim, who has not been publicly identified, as well as his uninjured companion.
The sad part is, this may have been preventable.
It’s vital to carry sufficient water and keep hydrated when riding, especially in hot weather. And even rides that start out cool can turn dangerously hot as the day progresses. It’s always better to err on the side of carrying too much water than not enough.
This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Riverside County.
My deepest sympathy for the victim and his family and loved ones.
Update: The victim has been identified as 40-year old Johnny Lee of Placentia. He was riding around the 1,300 foot level; the official temperature was upgraded to 107 degrees, tying the record set in 1958.
Fire officials urge extreme caution in temperatures that high. Lee was the fourth cyclist to die in the Southern California region last week.