Dwayne “Highly” Falkner, an avid cyclist and mountain bike racer, was attempting to cross a right-turn lane approaching 17th Avenue to continue westbound at around 9:10 a.m. Wednesday, when a vehicle struck him from behind, police said.
“[Falkner was] a super fast 50+ mountain biker,” said Tim Fleming, director of Fleming Wealth Strategies racing team. Fleming said his teammate was Falkner’s friend. “He raced on 24-hour teams with some of the guys from the Phoenix Consumers Cycling Club. Very sad.”
Fleming said Falkner also recently participated in a race from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, and he lived and trained in the Southeast Valley and Pecos Road area.
“A super nice, shirt-off-his-back kind of guy,” Fleming said.
Police said the driver of the vehicle stopped and is cooperating with the investigation, which will determine whether the driver had planned to turn right as Falkner was continuing to go straight, police said.
Pecos Road is a popular training route for many cyclists, and at the 17th Avenue intersection cyclists have to merge from a bike lane that breaks off and changes positions in the road just as a right-turn lane for cars appears. This can require cars and bikes to criss-cross in front or behind each other.
Falkner was taken to a local hospital where he died from injuries. Police have not yet released the driver’s name.
A memorial “silent ride” will take place Sunday in Ahwatukee.