65-year old Palm Desert woman killed when driver jumps curb and hits her bike

It’s not surprising that a painted bike lane may not seem safe as drivers speed by at 55 mph or more.

But sometimes, the sidewalk isn’t safe, either.

According to the Desert Sun, a 65-year old woman was killed when she was struck by a pickup driver as she was riding on a Palm Desert sidewalk.

The victim, later identified as Palm Desert resident Thereseem Smith, died at the scene.

She was riding on the sidewalk next to northbound Highway 74 near Haystack Road around 7:20 Monday morning. A driver traveling in the opposite direction veered across two northbound lanes and a painted bike lane before jumping the curb and slamming into Smith’s bike, knocking her into a grassy area several yards away.

Sheriff’s deputies found the driver unresponsive. Paramedics took the 61-year old Palm Desert man, who hasn’t been publicly identified, to a local hospital in unknown condition.

It’s not clear at this time whether he was injured as a result of the crash, or if he may have crashed due to a medical emergency, or for some other reason.

This is at least the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in Riverside County. She’s also the second bike rider killed in Palm Desert in the last two months.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Thereseem Smith and all her loved ones.


  1. David Drexler says:

    I have actually ridden my bike and driven on that road at that spot dozens of times. It’s one of the most beautiful and expensive areas of the desert.

  2. hazy says:

    For a city population of ~50k, that street is over engineered. 2 lanes going both ways with a center lane with no median to prevent such wrong way intrusions is just poor city planning and street design.

  3. Christina says:

    I think more lights should be put on this road so traffic is forced to slow down. I was struck while turning left by a car going , the police estimate, at least 65-70 mph, there were no skid marks to go by they were going so fast! I have trouble several years removed from that accident turning left at that spot. Something needs to be done to slow people down.

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