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USA Cycling champion killed while biking in San Francisco

A bicycle painted white and adorned with flowers leans against a tree.
A "ghost bike" memorial is seen at the Presidio intersection where cyclist Ethan Boyes was killed on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | Jesse Rogala/The Standard | Source: Jesse Rogala/The Standard

San Francisco resident Ethan Boyes, renowned as a USA Cycling Masters Champion and the holder of the national record in the "flying start" 500-meter time trial, was confirmed by the San Francisco Chronicle as the victim of a fatal accident in the Presidio on Tuesday.

Nextdoor user Stephanie Wald said in a post that she “witnessed a horrific accident” in which “a speeding car heading north [on Arguello Boulevard] careened into the opposite lane and hit a cyclist” who “slammed headfirst into the windshield.”

United States Park Police confirmed that that officers responded to a crash between a car and a bicyclist on Arguello Boulevard south of Washington Boulevard at approximately 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

“The cyclist, an adult male, was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and later pronounced deceased,” the statement said. “The driver of the vehicle was also transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The crash remains under investigation by the United States Park Police.”

The statement did not say if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

A Treacherous Intersection

Transportation activists had been petitioning for protected bike lanes on Arguello before Tuesday’s fatal crash.

"Arguello is desperately in need of protected bike lanes," said sustainable transportation advocate Luke Bornheimer, who said he strongly supports the petition. "Arguello is a critical route for anyone who uses sustainable transportation, such as bikes."

Bornheimer said that Arguello is used frequently by cyclists in the Richmond trying to access other areas in the city because it connects the Presidio to the car-free JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park.

"This death, while tragic, I think highlights the need for protected bike lanes," he said. "We know that the way to prevent people from being killed is to build protected bike lanes to separate bikes from car traffic, which will encourage more people to get on bikes."

In 2022, one bicyclist was killed riding in San Francisco while four were killed in both 2015 and 2016.

A man in a white cycling jersey and gold medal around his neck holds his right hand over his heart while clutching a bouquet of flowers in the other.
Ethan Boyes accepts his championship medal at the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships Men 40-44 Time Trial Awards Ceremony at the Velo Sports Center in Carson, Calif., on September 24, 2022. Boyes was killed in a crash in the Presidio on Arguello Boulevard on April 4, 2023. | Courtesy Craig Huffman/USA Cycling | Source: Courtesy Craig Huffman/USA Cycling

Boyes set his time trial record on Sept. 24, 2018, in Aguascalientes, Mexico. In a “flying start” time trial, the racer is already at full speed when they reach the starting line, rather than beginning from a standing start.

“Thank you for being a wonderful human and racer,” read a post by the Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose, one of many posted on Boyes' Instagram account.  “You were such a presence at Hellyer, and you will be missed. Our thoughts go out to you and your loved ones.”