Tate Meintjes was living out his own personal dream. At just 19 years old, he was already a professional cyclist, participating in races all over the United States.
Tragically, the teen phenom recently passed away in an accident with a car. He was in California, where he was planning to tackle the Redlands Bicycle Classic. During a pre-ride of the race course, he got cut off by a car. He collided with the vehicle and crews rushed him to the hospital, but he passed away from his injuries.
It looks like the driver was trying to pull a U-turn in a Honda Accord, going the same way that the young cyclist was going, and cut in front of him. That information comes from the California Highway Patrol.
Remembered by friends and fellow racers
Meintjes started racing in Nevada, initially on mountain bikes, and he still had a lot of connections in the area. Close friends and other racers took a moment to remember him after the sudden loss.
“Everything he took on, he was all in,” said one man, who rode with him often and had even coached him in the past. “Anything he decided to do, he was good at it. He knew what he wanted to do, what he wanted to accomplish. He is one of those rare people at that age who has a clarity about what they wanted to do and he was willing to put in the work and make sacrifices to be successful. He could have gone as far as he wanted to go.”
“He was such a smart, bright kid to be around,” added a fitness doctor who had worked with him during his career. “When you see kids like Tate, it really gave you some hope that there are a bunch of young kids coming up who are doing fantastic things and are fantastic people. It’s tragic to see us lose someone like him. For him to be that dedicated, at that age, it’s pretty remarkable. For a 19-year old, it’s amazing how many lives he touched.”
The last race he was in was the Bariani Road Race, roughly a week before his death. He did very well, taking third in the contest.
The risks in cycling
Clearly, this young man was very well-trained and experienced, even at 19 years old. He’d put in more miles on his bike than most people will cover in a lifetime.
For non-professional cyclists from California to Connecticut, this just underscores the risks that they face on the road. Drivers make mistakes. They act in unpredictable and even illegal ways. They cause accidents that you can’t avoid. If you suffer serious injuries or if you lose a loved one, be sure you know all of your legal options.