Monday, Aug. 26, 2002 | 9:44 a.m.
The death of a Las Vegas cyclist Sunday morning has renewed calls for reducing the speed limit on State Route 159, the highway that wends through Red Rock Canyon.
Timothy Poore, 39, of Las Vegas, was riding with his wife and other bicyclists about 9 a.m. Sunday within a paved shoulder just as Charleston Boulevard enters the canyon along the valley's most popular bicycle route, witnesses said.
Kathy Lehman, a Las Vegas bicyclist, pedaled past the cyclist just before he was killed.
"I waved to him as I passed," Lehman said. "And then I heard this horrible crashing sound behind me. I turned around and saw the cyclist was down."
Poore apparently rode ahead of his wife and another couple and for some reason then turned into the path of a car driven by David Baker, 53, of Mesa, Ariz ., on his way to church, Trooper Alan Davidson, a Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman, said.
Two off-duty paramedics riding their bikes on SR 159 stopped to help, but Poore, who was wearing a helmet, died at the scene.
Speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash, Davidson said. The investigation is continuing, but no charges have been filed.
Lehman said local bicyclists and area bicycle clubs have been trying to get the speed limit on SR159 lowered for months. It used to be 45 mph.
"People need to slow down," Lehman said. "The speed limit is 60 mph out here. We're trying to get it lowered again."
Jim Smallridge, president of the Silver State Bicycle Coalition and board member of the Las Vegas Valley Bicycle Club, said there would be renewed efforts to lower the speed limit.
"It's a scenic byway," Smallridge said. "Why they raised it to 60, we're still trying to find out. This is one of the premiere bicycle areas in the city."
More residents are traveling the road between Blue Diamond and Las Vegas, as well as visitors, he said.
"Our contention is if the speed was slower, there might be more reaction time."
The cyclist appeared to be doing everything right, riding in the right lane and wearing a helmet, although the official accident report had not been released Sunday, said Bruce Mackey, the Nevada state bicycle/pedestrian safety education officer.
"It certainly is a tragedy," Mackey said. "Particularly a cyclist that was taking precautions and riding the right way."
The cyclist's death was the fifth one this year, ahead of four killed last year, Mackey said. Between four and eight cyclists die in Nevada each year.
Las Vegas bicyclist Ed Thiessen experimented with the speed limit on his way to Blue Diamond last week.
"I set my speed limit at 61 mph and was passed by a dozen or more cars, and they're going 70 plus," he said.
"Our biggest concern is the speed limit," Thiessen said.
Lehman watched the man's wife and riding buddies pull away in a pickup, their cycles tossed in the rear bed.
"Those people won't ever ride again," Lehman said. "They're done."