Charity bike ride from Vancouver, B.C., to Seattle takes tragic turn

ARLINGTON, Wash. --  The Race to Conquer Cancer finish line in Redmond is where most of the 2,600 riders learned of the accident.

There were those who actually saw it happen and they were still a bit shaken late Sunday.

"There have been some tears and a lot of hugs,” B.C. Cancer Foundation CEO Doug Nelson said.

Witnesses say the accident happened on a narrow two-lane street.

Bicyclists Andrew Peterson and Connor Knickerbocker were in the pack riders when the 16-year-old boy from Victoria, B.C., went down.

"Somebody nicked the back of the guy's tire and (he) sort of fell over on his side and got hit by a car, an oncoming car,” Peterson said.

"We were riding along and all I heard was a big crash. I looked behind myself.  An SUV screeched to a halt and there was a body on the ground. His bike, his helmet, all of his gear was kind of shattered and all over the place,” Knickerbocker said.

Knickerbocker added that the other riders gave the boy CPR until an ambulance arrived,but he died a short time later.

"This event, over the five years, has become a community of people who do this to raise money for cancer research, and to hear about a tragedy like this is upsetting for all of us,” Nelson said.

It is the first time in the race's five-year history that something like this has happened.

Riders say that when on narrow streets with little or no shoulder, there is little margin for error, so riders try to look out for each other.

The death of a fellow cyclist is hard to take.

"It's all about just bringing everybody together and that definitely does dampen the mood a bit,” Peterson said.

Police say the driver who struck the boy, a woman in her 50s from Arlington, was on her way home from church, driving below the speed limit but was just unable to stop in time.

"We have no impairment issues whatsoever and she was cooperating fully with officers; she's not expected to be cited or charged with anything.  It's just in this case, (a) really unfortunate accident and very sad,”  city of Arlington spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said.

The boy's mother and uncle were riding nearby when the accident happened.