NAKHON RATCHASIMA – Tragety struck Sunday when Chilean Cyclist’s Juan Francisco Guillermo, 47 quest to bike around the world in five years has ended with his death in a road accident in northeast Thailand, police said.
Mr. Guillermo was attempting to set a Guinness World Record by cycling 250,000 kilometers (155,350 miles) on five continents in five years. His journey started in November 2010 and was scheduled to end in Australia, November of this year.
Juan Guillermo was struck and killed by a pickup truck on a highway in Nakhon Ratchasima province.
Guillermo and his family had made a rest stop at a police checkpoint in Khon Kaen’s Phon district on Saturday morning before heading off to Nakhon Ratchasima with the bicycle pulling a carriage.
The accident happened when a speeding pickup truck driven by Tiwarat Ratchaipidet, aged 64, side swiped the bicycle on the roadside, Guillermo was thrown from the bicycle and died on the spot.
The bicycle was totally destroyed, while the pickup truck crashed into a ditch and overturned.
Col. Torsak Thammingmongkol reported that Mr.Guillermo’s wife, who was on another bicycle with their 2-year-old son, suffered minor injuries.
Mr Tiwarat, who escaped unscathed, told police he was travelling from Khon Kaen to Nakhon Ratchasima and did not see the family on bicycles.
Mr Tiwarat was arrested on a charge of causing death by dangerous driving and released on bail. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Police Col. Torsak Thammingmongkol said “It was an accident caused by the driver’s recklessness. The road was straight and the cyclist was in his own lane.”
Guillermo wife from Singapore whom he met along his journey wanted her husband’s funeral to be held in Thailand.
In 2013, round-the-world British cyclists Peter Root and Mary Thompson died when they were struck by a pickup truck in Chachoengsao. The pickup truck driver admitted that his vehicle hit the British couple while he was reaching down to pick up a mobile phone. The driver escaped with a fine of just 1000 Baht.
The death comes as Thailand’s government is trying hard to promote bicycling for commuting, sport and tourism.