HomeSportsPro Cyclist Dies After Colliding with Truck

Pro Cyclist Dies After Colliding with Truck

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Andre Schoenherr via Getty Images)

On Wednesday morning (November 30), pro cyclist Davide Rebellin left his home for one of his regular training sessions. As he sped along an Italian motorway, however, a typical day turned to tragedy. While passing through an intersection on his way home from a strenuous session, the cyclist collided with a heavy truck, killing him instantly.

When the news initially broke, the identity of the cyclist wasn’t publicized. Learning of the accident, however, Rebellin’s brother Carlo had a sense of foreboding and rushed to the scene. Upon his arrival, Carlo immediately recognized the mangled bike lying on the road. Struck by the sudden loss of his brother, Carlo went into shock and was treated by first responders on the scene.

As reported by local news outlet Il Gazzettino, the truck driver did not stop, making the horrific incident a hit-and-run. As of now, it remains unclear whether the driver realized what they had done. Local authorities are currently working to piece together the events of the accident and locate the driver.

Born in San Bonafacio in 1971, Davide Rebellin was a renowned Italian cyclist. In 1992, he began his cycling career by competing for his home country in the Barcelona Olympics. He went on to win the Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2004. Rebellin’s last race was in October when he competed at the Veneto Classic in Italy.

Collisions Between Cyclists and Cars, Trucks on the Rise

Sadly, the circumstances surrounding Davide Rebellin’s death are far from unique. Nearly 1,000 cyclists die and over 130,000 are injured in collisions with trucks and cars every year in the United States alone. Worldwide, the death toll jumps to more than 40,000 cyclists annually.

And as more and more people take to two-wheeled travel, the number is only continuing to rise. In an interview with NPR, Bill Nesper, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists, explained that American roads were originally built to accommodate carriages and bikes. In the years since, however, they’ve evolved into superspeedways, those who travel by any means other cars disregarded completely.

“It continues to this day, a prioritization of moving vehicles as quickly as possible through places,” Nesper said. “And it’s absolutely true that people moving and getting around by foot and by bike is an afterthought. You know, if thought about at all.”

But major cities like Chicago aren’t willing to stand by and watch as residents simply trying to improve their lives through cycling fall victim to collisions with cars and trucks. Earlier this year, the Windy City unveiled a $15 million plan to develop and connect 48 new miles of bike trails and corridors.

The ultimate goal? To transform the city streets with 500 miles of bikeways in the next two to three years. “We have never built bike infrastructure this quickly in our city’s history,” explained Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi. “We’re going to give away 5,000 bikes to Chicago residents. Free bikes! And a helmet and a bike lock!”