Tragedies bring to light responsible road use


It was a usual Wednesday-evening ride for most Permian Basin cyclists. The “Peyton’s Ride” is a weekly ride that kicks off from Peyton’s Bikes in Midland around 6 p.m. or so. A few miles in, the group usually splits into a faster group and a more moderately paced group.

Among the faster group were Camron Stotts, Mike Mestas, and Jason Haislip, all frequent riders of the area. Haislip is the owner of Peyton’s Bikes.

After returning on the feeder road of Highway 191, the riders turned north on Highway 158 in the final portion of their ride.

Ricardo Madera of Eagle Pass had been drinking that evening. He was driving his pickup after a trip to a local bar when he struck another vehicle. He fled the scene of that incident, prompting the authorities to search for him. Their search wouldn’t end soon enough as Madera ended up on the same highway as the three cyclists.

Madera struck the three men, who were traveling in the shoulder of the road, then drove away.  Efforts to revive Stotts and Mestas proved futile, and the men died at the scene. Haislip would end up hospitalized for several days, and face months of recovery time. Haislip later commented that his recovery would not compare to the recovery the Stotts and Mestas families would have to go through.

Later, law enforcement would eventually find Madera at a local man camp, where his blood alcohol level would be 0.126. He would be charged with Intoxication Manslaughter, Intoxication Assault and fleeing the scene of the crash.

The Ride of Silence

On May 16, 2018, just three weeks after the crash, the annual Ride of Silence would take place. The Ride of Silence is done each year in every state to remember those struck or killed by cars while on their bikes. With emotions still raw and hearts still hurting, this year’s ride would prove to be one no one would forget. Some 130 riders showed up. The sheer numbers were unanticipated, but it was then that everyone knew how much these men were loved among the cycling community.

The media attended and interviewed several representatives of the PBBA before the ride started at 7:00 p.m., escorted by Sheriff deputies.

The driving public were respectful for the most part. Drivers pulled off to the side of the road, some even getting out of their vehicles and standing.

Riders converged on the memorial site where the incident happened. Friends and family spoke briefly as traffic slowly continued by.

The ride then resumed for the return trip back to the CEED Building, where the ride began.

These events bring to light important topics. Every user of the road has to do so responsibly. Whether motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian, road user safety should be of paramount importance. If you ride, take the time to ensure your bike is properly maintained, obey all street laws, and be courteous and respectful to other road users. Install good lighting on your bike.

Most of us riders are motorists, too. Our respect for other road users should continue despite what mode of transportation we are using.

 

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