A male driver has been arrested after ploughing into a group of eight cyclists in Catalonia, Spain killing two and seriously injuring three others.
According to El País (opens in new tab) the incident occurred on Sunday morning in the town of Castellbisbal, Catalonia after the driver swerved into the cyclists near the town's railway station. One cyclist died at the scene whereas the other died after arriving in hospital, they were 67 and 72 years old.
The local police force in the Martorell region located a dented red Opel with smashed front windows that was believed to have been involved in the incident. After reporting their findings to the Mossos d’Esquadra, the authorities managed to locate the driver and they were subsequently arrested (opens in new tab).
In the aftermath of the incident, Salvador Ribas of the Catalan Cycling Federation said the group feels ‘helpless’ in the face of such occurrences in which those involved ‘don’t even step on the brakes’. The report from El País also said that the latest fatalities bring the total to 111 killed on the roads of Catalonia this year with six of them being cyclists.
El País (opens in new tab) also reported in May that 200 cyclists have been killed on Spanish roads in the last four years, with 39 killed in Catalonia alone. Experts consulted on the figures attributed the rise in deaths to a cycling boom in Spain over recent years and also a lack of safe infrastructure for cyclists and other road users.
In early July, former World Champion Alejandro Valverde was involved in a hit and run incident in Murcia. Valverde along with his two fellow riders were all hospitalised but none of them sustained any serious injuries.
Eyewitnesses at the time said that one of the riders challenged the driver after a close pass at speed. After taking objection to being challenged by the cyclist the driver then reportedly stopped and reversed straight into Valverde and the rest of the group.
A 69-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and was released with charges.
42-year-old Valverde is currently in action at the Vuelta a España and has said he will retire at the end of the current season.
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