Had you walked in Durango Bikes in Pembroke Pines on Monday morning, it was hard to ignore the emotion that enveloped the business a day after a group of cyclists was struck by a distracted driver in Davie.
"It's sad for everyone, for the whole cycling community," owner John Durango said.
Durango and his employees got emotional every time they looked out the window and saw Denise Marsh's car parked outside.
The 53-year-old had parked it there the day before, only a short time before she and nearly 20 cyclists were hit by a driver along SR-84. Marsh was killed, and six others were hospitalized.
"Everyone is devastated," Durango said. "Everyone is sad, frustrated. We can't describe."
Marsh was a friend to so many in the cycling community. She was also a wife, an office manager and a mother to two boys.
“They just want to have fun," Durango said. "It’s sad to see people get killed trying to do good things only."
The driver, 33-year-old Nicole Vanderweit, told police she had gotten distracted by something in her glove compartment, in addition to the sun shining directly in her face. Police say she has been cooperative and has not been charged as of yet.
The crash has left the cycling community asking why and how to stop incidents like this from happening again.
"People right now are scared. People don't want to go out on bikes," Durango said.
As of Monday evening two cyclists, 62-year-old Carlos Rodriguez and 48-year-old Edgar Reyes, remain in the hospital in critical condition.
Florida is reportedly the most dangerous state to ride a bicycle. Experts recommend these safety tips:
- Wear reflective gear
- Obey traffic signals
- Don't wear earphones or use cellphones
- Assume drivers can't see you
- Watch for cyclists in your blind spots
- Avoid texting while driving
- Avoid speeding
- Slow down when approaching intersections