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'A great dad': Son describes father who died in Oshtemo Township crash

Oshtemo Crash2.jpg
Oshtemo Crash.jpg
Oshtemo Crash1.jpg
Posted at 8:51 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 17:31:42-04

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Michigan State Police say they are investigating a fatal crash involving a bicyclist that happened Wednesday morning.

Jeremiah Conley said his father, 61-year-old David Conley, rode over six miles to and from work everyday for over a decade.

KL Avenue, the road David was reportedly hit on, was part of his regular route.

"He did it for about 14 years," said Jeremiah Conley, David's son.

Jeremiah said his father would ride his bike from his apartment in Oshtemo Township to the Northside of Kalamazoo.

On Wednesday morning, he got a call no family member ever wants to receive.

"I got a call this morning that my dad had been hit by a motorist on his bike coming down the road," said Jeremiah Conley.

Michigan State Police (MSP) said the accident happened just before 6 a.m. on KL Avenue off of Drake Road.

David was riding his bike eastbound towards Drake Road when a vehicle headed the same way hit him. That driver was identified as a 23-year-old woman from Concord, MI.

Investigators said accident reconstructionists are still determining exactly what happened.

"He was dead instantly, killed instantly," said Jeremiah Conley.

"In the United States about 800 people a year are killed riding their bikes," said Bike Friendly Kalamazoo Board Member Paul "Doc" Rehkopf.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, there were 846 bicyclists killed on roadways in the United States. Most of those deaths occurring in the evening hours.

Rehkopf said there is one cycling death for about every 10 million miles that are biked in the United States.

"The toughest part of that is you only see what you’re looking for. You have to be concerned just as you are concerned that deer are there, you have to be concerned that pedestrians are there, folks in wheelchairs and folks on their bicycle," said Rehkopf.

Those statistics is why Jeremiah is speaking out about his father, not wanting other families to have to go through what he is.

"Everybody out there, just be cautious of the bike riders. Just use your P’s and Q’s when you see a biker and move over to the other side of the road.," said Jeremiah Conley.

Jeremiah said his father was a good dad, and they loved to fish together.

"I don’t we should ever come to accept a bicyclist being killed. We should always be saying, let’s look out for each other," said Rehkopf.

Michigan State Police said the driver of the vehicle was not hurt and is cooperating with them as they continue their investigation.

Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor, and the driver was wearing a seatbelt, according to MSP.