Nov 25, 2013 7:35 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

El Tour rider's death hits close to home for one injured cyclist

TUCSON- Tucson's cycling community is mourning the death of one of their own, after a cyclist was killed during El Tour de Tucson.

It happened Saturday night near I-10 and Sunset. DPS says the driver of the car, 78-year-old Steven Nelson Lang, hit and killed 59-year-old John Henderson. DPS says a medical condition may have been a factor in the crash.

For cyclist Brendon Lyons, it's a tragic death that hits close to home. "Realizing the magnitude that it could have been me who was killed," Lyons says. "It truly brings home that message of awareness."

On October 4, Lyons and his girlfriend were cycling on Sunrise Road west of Kolb. Lyons was training for what would have been his 4th El Tour de Tucson. He was hit from behind by a car traveling on the road.

Lyons went to the hospital with several injuries. He now often uses a wheelchair. "To be off the bicycle is truly troubling," Lyons says. "It has become much more than exercise. It's a way of life."

While the accident that killed Henderson may have been unavoidable, since his own accident, Lyons hasn't wasted any time in promoting cyclist safety. He helped create the local chapter of "Look Save a Life", which is an organization that helps build the relationship between cyclists and drivers.

"We realize we're vulnerable users on the road and we need to follow the rules of the road," Lyons says. "We're also drivers so we can understand that awareness is important while operating a 3,000 pound vehicle. You hold the life of others in your hand, not to mention your own life."

Upon hearing of Henderson's death, many cyclists took to the "El Tour de Tucson" Facebook page, suggesting next year's ride be dedicated to him.

El Tour de Tucson organizers say they want to respect the wishes of his family and it is too early on to say if and how Henderson will be honored.

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