LYONS, Colo. -- It may be a coincidence. It may not.
Regardless, the comments 69-year-old Patrick Ward made before being charged with vehicular homicide and careless driving in connection with a May 11 wreck that killed a cyclist are drawing attention.
At a court appearance this week, it was made public that Ward once complained at a Lyons planning meeting about “gangs of cyclists disobeying traffic rules.” Ward is scheduled to make another court appearance Thursday at 2 p.m.
Michel Van Duym, a 47-year-old cyclist, was killed in the accident on the east side of Lyons Saturday. Though it appears Ward and Van Duym have no personal history, Ward has publicly voiced some amount of loathing for the cyclists using the roadways in and around Lyons.
A 2010 article in the Lyons Recorder quotes Ward as saying, “These people (cyclists) don’t belong in Lyons, they certainly don’t belong in the foothills around Lyons.” Those comments were made at a city planning meeting to discuss a push to make the area more bicycle-friendly.
Ward wasn't alone in expressing those negative sentiments toward cyclists. Others at the planning meeting also said they wanted to see more done to prevent the growth of cyclists in the area.
Regardless of their differences, both motorists and cyclists say the intersection of Hwy 36 and 2nd Avenue is one of the most dangerous in the area. Three main roadways meet where the accident happened, and Lyons residents say most people don’t obey the speed limit.
They say this tragic accident was just waiting to happen, and that the area needs to be made safer.